House approves bill on Mindanao authority

Published by rudy Date posted on December 3, 2009

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a creation of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), which seeks to promote, coordinate and facilitate the active and extensive participation of all sectors to effect peace and development in Mindanao. By virtue of House Bill 6958, MinDA seeks to address the need for a coordinative and integrative approach in the formulation and implementation of various interregional and Mindanao-wide development plans, programs and projects.

Deputy Speaker Simeon Datumanong of Maguindanao, one of the authors of the measure, said it is the declared policy of the State to accelerate the socioeconomic growth and development of Mindanao by encouraging and increasing trade, tourism and investments, private enterprise and advancing efforts toward peace and development.

Rep. Pedro Romualdo of Cami-guin, another author of the bill, said MinDA shall prioritize, integrate and implement, whenever necessary, interregional and/or Mindanao-wide programs and projects cutting across regional boundaries, including the Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects.

Under the measure, MinDA shall recommend to and, whenever necessary, call upon the proper agencies on the technical support, physical assistance and generally, the level of priority to be accorded to agricultural, industrial, commercial and infrastructure, environmental and technological programs and projects soliciting or requiring direct or indirect help from or through the national government or any of its instrumentalities.

The bill empowers MinDA to recommend to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board for approval of the interregional and Mindanao-wide programs and projects.

Also, MinDA shall act as the official and permanent Philippine Coordinating Office for BIMP-EAGA (PCOBE) and the lead agency of the government in coordinating the formulation and implementation of policies and programs and monitoring of all activities related thereto.

The measure further provides that the current appropriations of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (Medco) shall be transferred to the Mindanao Development Authority to commence its activities.

The said bill was conceived long before the gruesome Maguindanao massacre. Incidentally, two of the co-authors of the said measure are from the camps of the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatu.

According to Deputy Speaker Simeon Datumanong, representative from Maguindanao and a relative of the Ampatuans, it is the declared policy of the state to accelerate the socioeconomic growth and development of Mindanao by encouraging and increasing trade, tourism and investments, private enterprise and advancing efforts toward peace and development.

Another author of the bill, Rep. Datu Pax Mangudadatu of Sultan Kudarat, is a relative of the Mangudadatu.

“MinDA shall encourage investments including the promotion of joint venture projects in Mindanao by extending the necessary planning, management and technical assistance to prospective and existing investors,” said Mangudadatu who is also the Chairman of the Committee on Mindanao Affairs.

MinDA shall cover all provinces and cities of Regions IX, X, XI, XII, Caraga and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It shall be attached to the Office of the President and its main office shall be located in Davao City.

The province of Palawan shall also be covered by MinDA but only in so far as its involvement in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) is concerned. –WITH REPORT FROM JOMAR CANLAS, FRANK LLOYD TIONGSON REPORTER, Manila Times

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