DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 Aug) – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is pushing for the integration of Palawan to Mindanao as one of its federated regions under the proposed federal government.
“Historically, in the ’50s, it was called MinSuPala which stands for Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan. The Palawan people trade more with these areas before,” Dr. Adrian Tamayo, MinDA public relations head, said on Thursday.
He said Palawan is already mature politically and economically and can stand on its own, given its unique “trade position with Malaysia, Indonesia and the rest of Southeast Asia” and rich mineral deposits.
Palawan is an archipelagic province of the Southwestern Tagalog Region or Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan).
He said MinDA also proposes for the merging of the Davao Region with Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos City) and Caraga with Northern Mindanao to form new federated regions.
Tamayo said they propose to have four federated regions in Mindanao – South Central Mindanao (Davao and Soccsksargen), Northern Mindanao (Caraga and Northern Mindanao), West Mindanao (Zamboanga Peninsula), and Bangsamoro – plus Palawan.
Among the considerations for the merging, he said, are the regions being economically co-integrated in terms of products and services, land sizes, interconnectivity, and per capital gross regional domestic product (GRDP).
The Davao Region is composed of the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental, Compostela Valley, and Davao City; Soccsksargen consists of the provinces of Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat; Caraga comprises the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur; and Zamboanga Peninsula is composed of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay.
“We could have four states in Mindanao plus Palawan. The rest they could decide on their own because a World Bank study shows that the future of the Philippines is actually the future development of Mindanao, resources are actually here, people are actually here, they are just moving out but given the structures that would unleash the potential of Mindanao, the whole country would develop,” he said.
Under the federal charter proposal of the 22-member Consultative Committee’s draft, ConCom member Prof. Edmund Tayao said all regions of the country would be transformed into federated regions.
Tamayo emphasized the need to development Mindanao which, he said, is basin of “mineral resources” that remain untapped given the unitary setup.
“So that’s why we want federalism because scholars are already saying Mindanao will grow, the whole country will grow,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)