The Mindanao Development Authority MinDA) is pushing for a higher budget share for Mindanao at PHP1.35 trillion for 2019-2020 to usher in sustainable development and the realization of the Duterte administration’s vision for the island.
MinDA Chair Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto said the appeal for higher budget is for Mindanao to catch up with the Dutertenomics target of boosting the island-region’s economy by seven to eight percent, and reducing poverty to 20 percent by year 2022.
Alonto said budget increase is focused on the prioritization of sustainable infrastructure development to support industries, the small medium enterprises, and other projects to bring down poverty.
Among the projects included in the budget are the priority projects under the Mindanao Development Corridors (MinDC) amounting to PHP603 billion. These are the Trans-Mindanao High-speed Railway System, Land Transport Connectivity and the Mindanao gateways – ports, airports.
MinDA is also pushing for the Tawi-Tawi Freeport and Economic Zone, the Picong Freeport, Airport, and Industrial Estate, and the establishment of Agri-Economic Cooperative Zones in the Bangsamoro areas to address food security.
MinDA, which is the lead agency for socio-economic development, has already submitted a position paper on the allocation of equitable budget share for Mindanao in which it emphasized on the importance of public investment vis-à-vis to sustainable development.
It also cited a World Bank study stating that in order to ease infrastructure constraints, the country needs to increase infrastructure investments to at least five percent of its GDP.
According to Alonto, Mindanao has been receiving on the average 11.45 percent of the total budget of the country over the past years. He said this is less than Mindanao’s contribution to the economy, which stands at an average of 15.29 percent from 2007-2018.
“We have all the potentials here – we are the source of food and industrial raw materials of the country. Building roads, upgrading ports and airports, and establishing economic zones are the key to unlocking Mindanao’s potentials,” Alonto said. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)