Mindanao’s “super region” needs P215 billion

Ocampo, who chairs the council of the heads of Mindanao's six regional development councils (RDCs), told reporters in a press conference here that the budget is drawn from a "wish list" of projects from Mindanao's local government units coordinated by their respective regional development councils.

Ocampo spoke at the reorganization meeting of the Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors, and Municipal Mayors League Presidents of Mindanao (CONFED)  at the Grand Regal Hotel here.                                            

Secretary Jesus Dureza, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and President Arroyo’s "point man" for the Mindanao super region, said the list of projects is the road map of the super region. Dureza said the super region concept is not new to Mindanao and that they have already “jumpstarted” the consolidation.  

In the list, Dureza said, the government has funded the bigger counterpart of the project. Ocampos clarified that "the government already has funds for some portions of the public investment plan" while the rest will be sourced through schemes like build-operate-transfer (BOT).

Ocampo said some funds would be drawn from proceeds of the value added tax collections, savings from the re-enacted budget, grants and donations, loans, and counterparts from the local government units and government-owned corporations.   

There was no estimate however, as to how much tax collections and savings would contribute to form the fund. There was also no mention on how to realize big-funding schemes like the BOT in the middle of the government’s difficulty to sell its major assets.

Around 42.27% of the investment requirement or P90.74 billion is earmarked for "realizing Mindanao's agribusiness and aquaculture, and mariculture potentials". Around 36.24% or P77.8 billion is eyed for projects to attract more investors.

About 11.1%, or P23.8 billion, of the investment requirement goes to projects to establish an efficient food logistics and system linking Mindanao to Manila. Proposed projects for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) also account for P12 billion.

Only 3.9%, or P8.2 billion, of the proposed projects are directed at improving education and other social development conditions.

Around P2 billion worth of projects are proposed for capability, peace building and information and communications technology. A total of P234 million is proposed for projects to pursue responsible mining.

Of the P90.74 billion proposed projects for realizing Mindanao's agribusiness, acquaculture, and mariculture potentials, 68.12% or P61.8 billion is for road network improvement. Around P17 billion for irrigation development, P7.7 billion for agrarian reform projects, P3 billion for environment protection, P612 million for agri- processing and business center, P401 million for fishery development, and P119 million for agriculture development.

Of the P23.8 billion proposed projects for establishing efficient food logistics system linking Mindanao to Manila, P20.7 billion is for support infrastructure and utilities while P3.104 billion are for food processing and consolidation.

The plan also presented around P43 billion worth of projects for power projects mostly generation and transmission. Around P25.3 billion are for support infrastructure network while around P9.4 billion worth of projects are proposed for tourism development.

The investment plan also singled out a total of P12 billion projects for the ARMM "catch-up plan" to realize the ARMM's agribusiness and aquaculture potentials (P3.17 billion),  improving accessibility to production (P5 billion), enticing investments in ARMM Area (P1.45 billion), improvement of ports and airports (P1.24billion), Uplifting Social Concerns (P1.21 billion) and other peace and development (P30 million).

Around P1.95 billion worth of projects are proposed “to build strong partnerships” in Mindanao such as resolving boundary conflict for peace and development in Mindanao, among others. Around P8.3 billion is proposed for projects to uplift social development conditions such as education, with P1.19 billion is proposed for flood control to protect life and property ( P4.53 billion), expanded medical and health care, (P2.29 billion), child and maternal care  (P126 million ), and other welfare projects (P75 million).

For projects to be selected as priority in the Mindanao super region, Ocampo said, it has to be within the framework of the Arroyo administration's 10-point agenda and must be recommended by the regional development councils.

Dureza said Mindanao has an advantage as a super region because of the set up of coordination facilitated by the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo), unlike other regions that has no experience in consolidating regional plans.

"It is just a matter of getting the agencies to go together," he said. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)