International funding sought for Mindanao’s peace and dev’t concerns

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 Feb) – Eighty percent of Mindanao’s peace and development concerns have been considered in the 2013 Philippine Development Forum (PDF) held here last Feb. 4-5 and are thus presented to international partners for possible funding support, officials of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said Wednesday.

Reyzaldy Tan, MinDA’s director for policy, planning and project development, said being “considered” by the national government and international development partners will be manifested in four Ps – policies, plans, programs and “pera” (money).

He said at the regular Club 888 media forum at The Marco Polo Davao that the PDF was a big opportunity for international partners to provide funding support for Mindanao’s development.

The PDF, which followed the Mindanao Development Forum (MDF) held two days before (Feb.1), discussed policy concerns with global development partners and had considered Mindanao concerns, Tan explained.

These concerns, he cited, were under five major themes: peace, justice and security; economy; climate change mitigation and adaptation; governance; and human development and poverty reduction.

What was considered, he continued, include the Mindanao Nurturing Our Waters Now, the MinDA’s banner program under the Mindanao 2020 plan, for the climate change concern.

On governance, strengthening the capacity of stakeholders to demand good governance, and the capacity of the local government units (LGU) to carry out transparency and accountability mechanisms were also raised in the PDF, he said.

On peace concerns, Tan said the PDF supported socio-economic initiatives in conflict and post-conflict areas, including the support for the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which the Philippine government entered into with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

On human development, the need for Regions 9, Caraga and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to catch up with the Millennium Development Goals was also considered in the PDF.

Rafael Evangelista, MinDA’s senior consultant, said the multi-modal transport and logistics support programs had been considered in the last two fora.

The MDF’s power and infrastructure sector’s action include streamlining licensing and regulation; promoting mini-hydro power plants and policy reforms.

In addition, adopted by the MDF was the improvement in business regulations and property rights such as in the field of small-medium enterprises, mining, agriculture and land.

In the PDF, policy amendments include the Cabotage Law, National Land Use Code and the Competition Policy Law.

The MinDA officials said that in addressing the need for renewable energy projects, a virtual one-stop shop is a viable solution to the long process of approval. Tan said the one-stop shop is yet to be detailed but has already been discussed in the national level.

The newly elected lawmakers and government officials in Mindanao will be oriented with the island’s development priorities, issues and challenges that had been considered in the last two fora held here, Tan said.

It will be an effort of the MinDA to share what transpired from the MDF and PDF with the Mindanao Lawmakers Association and the Confederation of Local Chief Executives in Mindanao (Confed) and discuss initiatives to develop and amend policies through a forum, which will be led by the MinDA.

Evangelista said that because of the elections in May, changes are expected in the membership of the MinDA Board, including the chairpersons of the Regional Development Councils across the island. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)