RDC-12 to push for bigger share for Mindanao in national budget, solving power crisis

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 26 Jan) – The Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 will push anew for a significant raise of Mindanao’s share in the national budget and the immediate resolution of the area’s worsening power shortage in an upcoming island-wide development forum in Davao City.

Richlie Lyndon Magtulis, chair of RDC-12’s Macroeconomy, Development Administration and Finance Committee (MEDAFC), said such concerns were among the key recommendations adopted by the council for the two-day 2013 Mindanao Development Forum (MDF) organized by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

The forum, which is expected to gather around 300 heads and representatives of various Official Development Assistance (ODA) offices as well as officials from national line agencies, is slated on Feb. 1-2 at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City.

Magtulis said the recommendations were adopted by RDC-12 based on an endorsement from the MEDAFC.

In a resolution, the council said the national government should increase the share of Mindanao in the national budget “since it remains very low compared to those of Luzon and Visayas.”

It cited the need for the implementation of more effective measures that would address the worsening power supply shortage in the island.

The RDC said the now “regular power outage” experienced in most of Mindanao has resulted to the slowdown of various economic activities.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has been implementing major power load cuts in the island in the last two years due to the declining generation capacity of the National Power Corporation’s hydroelectric plants in Bukidnon and Lanao provinces.

This city and other parts of Region 12 have been experiencing daily rotating brownouts extending to as much as three hours due to the power supply deficit.

Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The council also recommended the need to improve the island’s judicial support system for the disposition of drug-related cases to help de-clog local jails that are currently “overcrowded with inmates who have not even committed the crimes which they are accused of.”

It said the national government should certify as priority the establishment of disaster-preparedness infrastructure like flood control and drainage given the unpredictable weather.

The MDF is a high-level multilateral meeting designed to provide the platform for dialogue and public discourse on Mindanao’s development agenda, MinDA said in a statement.

It said among the key issues and concerns that would be discussed in the MDF are the impact of climate change and proposed long-term measures; the strengthening of the foundations of peace and development under the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro; and, the role of Mindanao as the country’s agribusiness hub, and the attainment of Millennium Development Goals targets.

Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, MinDA chairperson, said the MDF will also highlight the gains of various ODA-assisted projects in Mindanao and rally development partners around key priorities that impact highly on peace, socio-economic growth as well as rehabilitation of areas struck by recent calamities. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)