How much does gov’t really spend for Mindanao’s development?

Klein Fernandez, senior economic development specialist at Medco's Inter-sector and Policy Advocacy Division told MindaNews they want to compare actual releases with what is indicated in the General Appropriations Act, the annual national budget.

Fernandez said the four-month research work will involve gathering releases made from 2000 to 2005 to national government agencies in Mindanao.

He said the research is in support of calls by Mindanao leaders to increase the share of Mindanao in the national budget.

He said they will present the results of the study to the 3rd  Mindanao Budget Summit and to the cabinet members in January 2008.

Fernandez said the study will be an important tool in lobbying for higher share starting in the preparation of the 2009 budget.

He said they will go to individual agencies for data.

The study, he said, will only look into actual releases made for development work, including expenditures for infrastructure and actual programs and projects. It will not factor in those spent for personnel and maintenance and operating expenses.

Fernandez said the study was an offshoot of a quest from local chief executives, private sectors, and other Mindanao stakeholders on the share of Mindanao of the national budget.

He said two budget studies were conducted in the past en route to the first and second Mindanao budget summits in 1999 and 2002, respectively.

He said both studies, however, were based on the General Appropriations Act, which he said were only on paper and were not actually released in full.

Leaders of the Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors and Municipal Mayors' League Presidents of Mindanao (CONFED Mindanao) and other Mindanawon leaders like Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, have recently called for higher Mindanao budget. 

The Department of Budget and Management is reportedly proposing a P1.227 trillion budget for 2008. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)