DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 November) — Mindanao governors and mayors will continue to lobby for increased national government budget for Mindanao this year, according to Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario, the newly elected president of the Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors and Municipal Mayors League Presidents of Mindanao (Confed Mindanao).
Del Rosario said they will continue to lobby for at least 30 per cent share of Mindanao in the country’s national budget because the current allocation for Mindanao remains at a pathetically low level.
“We get the impression that Mindanao only gets 16 per cent of the total budget, which is very low; and when it comes to the actual release, it is even lower than that,” del Rosario said, after he took over on Friday the post left by former South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance Fuentes.
“Getting the right allocation and releasing the funds are quite two different things,” he said. “We should lobby for the increased share of Mindanao in the national budget, and once it (Mindanao’s allocation) is increased, we should see to it that the budget intended for Mindanao will be released.”
He said the governors and mayors will “work together” with the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the Regional Development Councils (RDCs) in the six regions in Mindanao to ensure that this is done.
Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, MinDA chair, said they will induct the new set of officers of Confed Mindanao in Malacanang to show that “we are united” in the advocacy for Mindanao, especially with regards to the budget from the national government.
“I don’t think Malacanang can ignore 60 Congressmen, 26 governors (including the ARMM governor – ed) and the clamor of the mayors in Mindanao,” she said. “We may be divided in some other issues but when it comes to the increased Mindanao budget, we are united,” she said.
A resolution calling for an increased share of Mindanao in the national budget has been pending from the previous Confederation officers.
The past Confed Mindanao officers listed down among its accomplishments the conduct of Mindanao budget summit, where governors and mayors used to discuss their perennial woe over the measly share of Mindanao in the national budget, despite Mindanao’s significant contributions to the country’s economy. Mindanao has been largely left out in the government’s infrastructure spending, the bulk of which goes to Luzon and the Visayas.
“We will assure this time that we shall not be left out,” del Rosario said. (Germelina Lacorte/Mindanews)