DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 March) — The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will continue to lobby for the 12 identified “catalytic projects” in Mindanao as they want these infrastructure projects to become a “national priority” to get funding from the government, MinDA public relations head Adrian Tamayo said on Sunday.
“It must be admitted that most of the infrastructure projects are still in feasibility stage given the national priority challenge, which means MinDA continues its lobbying for these projects to be prioritized as a national priority to attain budget allocation,” he told MindaNews.
The catalytic projects include the Trans-Mindanao High-Speed Railway System (TMHSRS) worth P753.5 billion; Marawi rehabilitation for livelihood and business development, land resource management, and social services that would need P 16 billion; P42 billion for the establishment of Agro-Economic Zones in Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Agusan del Sur, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan; and P15 billion for the Tawi-Tawi Integrated Development Project/Ecozone.
MinDA also wants P25 billion for Picong Freeport and Ecozone in Picong, Lanao del Sur; P39.2 billion for the Mindanao River Basin Integrated Flood Control Projects; P300 million for the proposed Mindanao Executive Leadership Academy in Maramag, Bukidnon; P75 billion for the MinDC Interregional Connectivity Projects comprising roads and bridges; P100 million for Tourism Assistance Center in 20 strategic areas in Mindanao; P9.8 billion for New Zamboanga Airport in Mercedes, Zamboanga City; P100 million for Polloc Freeport and Ecozone in Polloc, Maguindanao; and P9.8 billion for General Santos Aerotropolis.
Tamayo said MinDA continues to attend business pitching to generate interest for Halal and Islamic financing and pitch for the agro-economic zones to interested investors.
Romeo Montenegro, director for Investment Promotion, International Relations and Public Affairs of MinDA, saidthe realization of the 12 catalytic programs could change the economic landscape of Mindanao.
Montenegro added that the agro-economic zones are crucial in transforming poor areas into productive agribusiness centers in Mindanao.
“By making identified areas viable for consolidation, economies of scale can be expected, thereby attracting investments that bring agri products up the value chain,” he said.
The MinDA has identified seven pilot areas for the agro-economic zones: the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; Agusan del Sur in the CARAGA region; and Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay in the Zamboanga Peninsula at one each per province.
The agency plans to implement the agro-economic zones through a public-private partnership scheme. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)