Integration crucial to Mindanao’s dev’t — WB-AusAID study

Published by rudy Date posted on August 5, 2010

PLANS TO unleash Mindanao’s development potentials will require economic and financial integration of its growth hubs with its less developed peripheries, as well as with key economic centers in Luzon and the Visayas and with select foreign markets, a study of the World Bank and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) said.

The report, titled: “Behind the veil of conflict: moving toward economic integration for sustained development and peace in Mindanao,” argued that “an end to conflict is not enough.”

“Mindanao needs to achieve economic integration — both internal and external — to fulfill its development potential and as a peace-building strategy,” a statement yesterday read.

The study noted that while Mindanao accounts for a third of the Philippines’ total land area, 38% of the country’s farms and 60% of its total agricultural exports, the entire island contributes only 15% each to the industry and service sectors, a fifth to gross domestic product and only a fourth of total jobs.

“The basic development challenge that Mindanao… faces is how to catch up with the level of development that leading regions in Luzon and the Visayas have achieved,” the report read.

It enumerated two key thrusts, namely:

* to strengthen the links of the island’s five growth hubs, namely: the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Davao, General Santos and Zamboanga, with Metro Manila and Metro Cebu, as well as with major foreign markets like the US and Japan; and
* to enable the economic benefits of growth in these cities to spill over to communities in Mindanao’s periphery.

These thrusts require not only the expansion of physical infrastructure that will facilitate the movement of people, goods and services between less developed areas and the growth hubs, but also well-functioning formal and informal financial systems that will enable those who move to the growth centers to remit to their dependents in lagging peripheral areas so that consumption and production there will increase.  – Businessworld

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