ILIGAN City – The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed its satisfaction with the results of the recently concluded 28th Mindanao Business Conference held in this City of Majestic Waterfalls last September 12-14, 2019.
Over 700 delegates from business, policy makers and stakeholders from government and private sector attended the three day conference organized by the PCCI and hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation of Iligan, Inc. (CCIFII) at the MSU-IIT gym in Barangay Tibanga, this city.
A major milestone of the conference is the immediate response from President Duterte’s Cabinet Secretary Karlo B. Nograles on the policy resolutions submitted by PCCI Mindanao.
“We believe that the best evidence of government’s commitment to follow through on Mindanao development efforts are the Administration’s response to the 2018 MinBizCon Resolutions submitted to the President last year,” Nograles said.
“We are encouraged by the fact that many of the priorities and plans of the Administration are aligned with your concerns, and you have our assurance that the concerns you have raised are factored in the government’s ongoing programs and projects in the region,” he added.
In response to the six policy agenda put forward by the PCCI to the Office of the President, Nograles, who represented President Rodrigo R. Duterte, committed to prioritize in the 2020 National Expenditure Program (NEP or Budget) the following major infrastructure projects and programs:
· Upgrading the airport capabilities in Pagadian, Ozamiz, Tandag, Surigao, Camiguin and the expansion of the Laguindingan Airport;
· Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and a Trade (ROLL-IT) proposals from all regions in Mindanao;
· Rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi Hydro Power plants;
· Rehabilitation programs for Marawi City (livelihood, telecommunications, and other social services); and
·Packages of services and assistance for the implementation of Executive Order 70 – the Whole of Nation Approach to address peace and development in Mindanao. Target groups are geographically isolated and disadvantage areas, communities whose poverty incidence is more than 30% and conflict areas in Mindanao.
“As we reach the halfway mark of the Administration, our focus is now ensuring that the programs and projects that we promised at the start of this term are being executed, if not yet completed, and will make a lasting impact on our countrymen via the many projects in Mindanao, “ Nograles said.
Upgrading Mindanao Airports
The night rating of the Pagadian, Ozamiz, Surigao (and Siargao), Camiguin airports are expected to be completed by 2019 to 2021. The Laguindingan Airport Original Proponent Proposal is undergoing NEDA vetting and is expected to be approved soon.
For the 2020 budget, the DOTr proposed funding for the aviation sector amounting to P 865 million for the development of airports and the upgrading of airport facilities. Of this, P100 million is allocated for the development of Laguindingan Airport. Based on the latest inspection, the November 2019 completion target for the initial 400-meter repair of the Surigao airport runway is expected to be met and the full 700-meters by February 2020.
Mindanao’s road network is being now developed by the DPWH with funds amounting to P126.86 billion. The Mindanao Road Development Network Program, covering 2,600.67 kilometers, connects the Zamboanga Peninsula, Southern Mindanao, Central Mindanao and Caraga Regions. For 2020, the proposed budget for ROLL IT alone is P10.2 billion. The DOTr also proposed for FY 2020 the inclusion of P97 million for the Mindanao Railway Project.
“Also requested in this resolution is the conduct of consultations on policy-making. For this, we have the Regional Dialogues (Dagyaw), currently being conducted nationwide. Dagyaw 2019: Open Government and Participatory Governance Regional Dialogues encourage participation among government agencies, the public, and other stakeholders. As a platform for engagement and convergence, each regional dialogue focuses on area-specific topics to address the issues and problems encountered in each locality,” Nograles noted.
The Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Plant rehab was among the projects lined up for China financing after the President obtained US$9 billion official development assistance (ODA) during his visit to Beijing in October 2016. Funding for this was firmed up as part of the “second basket” of projects in September 2017, and according to the NEDA, the rehabilitation of the plant is scheduled for 2020, to be completed by 2022
Rehabilitation of Marawi City
“On fast tracking the Economic Recovery of Marawi City, we cannot agree with you more that acceleration for livelihood-related interventions, supplementary support such as financing and new and better opportunities for MSMEs and in parallel, continuing capacitation of those affected to be able to take up and sustain these activities, are paramount to the rehabilitation of the city as well as to establish business resiliency,” Nograles said.
Corollary to this, however, is ensuring the security and the public’s safety so that dividends from current recovery programs will not be wasted, he added.
The reconstruction and rehabilitation of 18.97 kilometers of roads in Marawi City is now ongoing. Funding from both local and foreign sources have enabled the Duterte Administration to fast track the extensive planning and preparations required for the P67.99 billion reconstruction and rehabilitation program for Marawi within just a year after government troops liberated the city.
Displaced families continue to be transferred to transitory shelters built through the efforts of Task Force BangonMarawi, and have been able to avail of livelihood projects and skills training programs undertaken by different implementing agencies, development partners, CSOs and NGOs.
“As we build on these efforts that continue to this day, we in government welcome the new recommendations from the MinBizCon for 2019. From the initial briefing papers provided to us, there are new projects and priorities being recommended, and we welcome your input,” Nograles noted.
Executive Order 70 – the Whole of Nation Approach
While underscoring the media’s role in conveying to the public this government’s policy, the EO is now paving the way for better formulation of programs by the Regional Peace and Order Councils (RPOC) hand in hand with that of the Regional Development Councils (RDC).
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has also launched its own initiatives that utilize this approach to address the root causes of insurgency, internal disturbances, and armed conflict.
The Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev) initiative of the Regional Development Council-Region 10 (RDC-10) and the Regional Peace and Order Council-Region 10 (RPOC-10) is the first such mechanism to pioneer this approach.
Emerging Investment Destination
“In the coming years, we can expect increased investments since most of the committed investments and projects committed in the early part of the Administration are now past feasibility stage and are, in fact, already being implemented,” Nograles said.
The Board of Investments (BOI) reports registered investments in Mindanao increased by 420% from P18.2 billion in April 2018 to P94.7 billion in April this year.
The bulk of these investments in Mindanao are in the Caraga region (P 57.87 billion); Northern Mindanao (P31.97 billion); Davao Region (P2.7 billion); and Soccsksargen (P2.1 billion pesos). These registered new investments are expected to generate at least 7,000 new jobs.