New MinDA chair says her appointment was signed last week

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/03 September) — Former South Cotabato Representative Luwalhati R. Antonino will head the newly-created Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) replacing Jesus G. Dureza, President Benigno C. Aquino III said in a speech delivered at the 12th National Tuna Congress here by former senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas, his representative.

The announcement was made at around 11:19 a.m. Friday.

“I have full confidence in her to head [the development] of Mindanao,” Mr. Roxas quoted the President as saying.

The Aquino administration is committed to help in the development not only of the local tuna industry but also of the entire Mindanao island, and Ms Antonino will play a crucial role to achieve this direction, said Roxas, the defeated running mate of Aquino.

Antonino, mother of incumbent Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio and wife of former mayor and congressman Adelbert W. Antonino,  told reporters, “my appointment was signed last week….it came as a surprise.”

The MinDA chair has a fixed term of six years and holds a Cabinet rank.

Antonino said the peace process will be on top of her priority list in her new role as Mindanao czar, adding that she’ll be consulting with Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, presidential adviser on the peace process, about the matter.

But to start off,  Antonino said she’ll try to get the total picture of Mindanao and how it can be developed

“There are already existing development blueprints for the island so we’re not actually starting from zero,” she said.

Roxas did not say when Antonino would assume her post. (MindaNews)