Mindanao Proposed Budget1

Mindanao’s lead agency for socio-economic development continues the call for an equitable budget share for the island-region to achieve greater impact on poverty reduction and economic growth.

In order to catch up with the Dutertenomics target of boosting the island-region’s economy by 7 to 8 percent, and reducing poverty to 20 percent by year 2022, Mindanao Development Authority through its Chairman Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto appealed to lawmakers to increase the budget allocation to Php 1.35 trillion, to be spread in the next four years.

Mindanao was allocated 416 billion or 12 percent of the national budget for 2017.

 “For us in Mindanao, getting tired is a luxury we cannot yet afford. So we will continue to knock on your doors until we get what Mindanao rightfully deserves,” Alonto said during their agency’s presentation.

The budget increase advocacy of MinDA primarily focused on the prioritization of sustainable infrastructure development the fully supports development of industries, SMEs, ecotourism, and other projects that contribute more to poverty alleviation.

The proposed budget already includes an additional Php 603 billion to fund the priority programs and projects under the Mindanao Development Corridors (MinDC), including Mindanao-wide land transport connectivity, Mindanao gateways, and the Trans-Mindanao-High- Speed Railway system.

The MinDC, which includes the Bangsamoro Development Corridor corresponds to the proposed Federal States of Mindanao and highlight the different comparative advantages of the island-region.

“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.

He added that MinDA has also submitted a list of catalytic projects for Mindanao including the Tawi-Tawi Freeport and Economic Zone, the Picong Freeport, Airport, and Industrial Estate, the next segments of the Trans-Mindanao HighSpeed Railway Project, and the establishment of Agri-Economic Cooperative Zones in the Bangsamoro areas to address food security.

At the Mindanao Affairs Committee Hearing in Congress early this week, Committee Chairman Representative Maximo Rodriguez urged members to collectively support efforts to secure higher allocation for Mindanao.

"The past studies we did on the Mindanao budget and the analysis presented by MinDA validated our assertion that we are getting roughly 12 percent of national budget," Rep. Rodriguez stressed.

He added that his Committee will conduct subsequent hearings with key agencies such as the Departments of Budget and Management, Transportation, and Public Works to obtain proposed allocation for Mindanao in 2019.

In a position paper on the allocation of equitable budget share for Mindanao, MinDA contends that public investment in infrastructure, economic growth, and ultimately, poverty reduction come hand in hand in ushering sustainable development. The paper also cited a World Bank study stating that in order to ease infrastructure constraints, the country needs to increase infrastructure investments to at least 5 percent of its GDP.

Over the last decade, Mindanao has been receiving on the average 11.45 percent of the total budget of the country. This is less than Mindanao’s contribution to the economy, which stands at an average of 15.29 percent from 2007-2018.

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