Bukidnon hosts 1st Mindanao Social Business Summit

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 04 May) — The Gawad Kalinga (GK) and Central Mindanao University (CMU) will convene the first ever Mindanao Social Business Summit in Maramag, Bukidnon on June 4 to 6 to push for inclusive development through social enterprise, especially among indigenous communities and underprivileged sectors in Mindanao.

Emmanuel Alkuino, a member of the Board of Regents of Central Mindanao University (CMU) said the summit, to be held at CMU’s Farmers Training Center, aims to gather around 500 participants from around the country and will focus on “wealth creation with justice and peace through social entrepreneurship.”

The three-day summit, he said, is a follow up to the 1st Philippine Social Business Summit in Angat, Bulacan in October 2013, which was organized to support social enterprise development as a strategy for “inclusive growth.”

Alkuino said the situation in Bukidnon provides a good setting for the summit.

“Despite fertile lands and very good climate, we have so many poor people and malnourished children here,” he said.

According to the “First Semester Per Capita Poverty Threshold and Poverty Incidence among Families, by Region and Province: 2006, 2009 and 2012” released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) in April 2013, Bukidnon’s poverty incidence rose to 43.3 percent in 2012 from 38.8 percent in 2009 and 40.4 percent in 2006.

Based on the figure, 43 out of 100 families in the province are poor, making Bukidnon the 7th in Mindanao and the 13th in the country with the most number of families considered poor in 2012.
Bukidnon ranked 18th in 2006 and 20th in 2009 among the country’s 80 provinces in terms of poverty ranking.
Alkuino said a friend of his told him that Bukidnon is one of the top gardens of Japan; but many of the products the province exports tobJapan, are not even sold in the local markets.

He noted the sorry state of the province’s environment. “Almost 50 percent of waters in Mindanao come from Bukidnon as headwater but 80 percent of our mountains that are supposed to be sources of water are denuded,” he said.
“This means reduced irrigation, reduced food production, less electricity — only some of the possibilities if the problem will not be addressed,” he said.

Alkuino explained that from Mt. Kitanglad to Pulangi to Rio Grande de Mindanao, the siltation problem is serious.

But he said one of the options to address these issues is the promotion of the local giant bamboo industry both to counter siltation and to develop social enterprise. He said Bukidnon and the rest of Mindanao have the comparative advantage of producing and processing giant bamboo.

Organizers said the summit aims to” advocate for partnerships among stakeholders the need for a holistic support mechanism towards inclusive growth to reduce poverty,” to “manifest for decision the issues on peace and development in Mindanao and their implications for social entrepreneurships,” and to “rally for stakeholders’ commitment towards the establishment of a Social Enterprise Institute in CMU as a mentoring hub for Mindanao.”

Alkuino could not cite a specific model doing social enterprise like brick-making and bamboo plantations. But he said they are looking at the social enterprise mentoring hub at CMU dubbed Mt. Kalayo Institute for Social Enterprise Growth (MKISEG) as a “seed to plant” for the vision.

Among the speakers invited to the summit are Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, Mark Ruiz of HaPinoy Trade and Industry Sec. Gregory Domingo, Reese Fernandez of Rags2Riches, Dylan Wilk of Human Nature, Nicanor Perlas of Life Bank Foundation, Anton Diaz of Awesome Planet, John Conception of Selecta, Dean Alex Brillantes of the Commission on Higher Education,  Gilda Pico of Land Bank of the Philippines, Fr. Robert Yap of Xavier University, Ateneo de Cagayan,
Secretary Mary Ann Lucille Sering of the Philippine Climate Change Commission, Dir. Cielito F. Habito of the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development, Rev. l. Daniel Alba Pantoja of Peace Builders Community, Dr. Karl Kendrick Chua, senior country economist from the World Bank  Philippine Development Report on creating more and better jobs, and Cora Claudio, Chair, Management Association of the Philippines. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)