DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 February) — Mindanao will be the specific target of the anti-poverty agenda of Leodegario “Ka Leody” Quitain de Guzman if he wins the Presidency.
Speaking before the online forum, Candid Dates 2022, de Guzman said Mindanao’s poverty incidence is sadly higher than the national average.
He said political dynasties contributed directly to the poverty incidence in places like Mindanao.
He pinpointed several key issues in Mindanao, specifically insurgency, environmental protection, and a more visible development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
According to De Guzman, the roots of insurgency must be addressed by directly confronting the reasons why rebels take up arms.
There needs to be serious talks with communist rebel groups, he said, to address the issues raised that would lead to the elimination of the reasons for taking up arms against the government.
Doing so would lead to former rebels taking part in the development of their own nation, he said.
De Guzman emphasized the need to address poverty, especially in the hinterlands, adding that the country needs its own industries and not rely on foreign manufacturing.
On environmental concerns, de Guzman said he would push for the repeal of the 1995 Mining Act, and advocate for an Alternative Mineral Management Law that would regulate mining and address ecological concerns.
De Guzman said that mining, despite its promise of development, did not contribute to development in areas in Mindanao.
“We need to develop our own mining industry and not the interest of the investors,” he said.
To address the development in the BARMM, he said government needs to support the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and ensure that what needs to be implemented under the organic law for the BARMM would be implemented.
On rehabilitating Marawi, De Guzman said his administration will allot 10 billion pesos to ensure Marawi City art of his advocacy is the funding of P10 billion “para mabalik ang buhay sa Marawi.”
He said that his platform’s pagpapaunlad ng kanayunan (developing the countryside) specifically targets Mindanao.
“Mindanao is the food basket of the Philippines, but why is there still hunger?” de Guzman said in Filipino.
According to data from the Asian Development Bank, the poverty incidence in Mindanao was indeed higher than the national average.
Mindanao’s poverty incidence was rated at 36.2%, higher than the Philippine national average of 21.6%.
Luzon has a poverty incidence of 13.1%, while Visayas has 28.2%.
In terms of population, the same data identifies Mindanao as having the largest share of the country’s poor, contributing 40.4%, followed by Luzon and Visayas at 34.3% and 25.3%, respectively.
He added that political dynasties, too, contributed to continuing poverty in Mindanao.
The presidential candidate promised to push for an law enabling law to implement the Constitutional ban on political dynasties.
Candid Dates 2022 is a series of casual online conversations between Mindanawon voters and candidates running for President, Vice President and local seats in the May 9, 2022 elections, presented by the Davao Association of Catholic Schools (DACS) and co-presented by the Mindanao Consortium of Ateneo (Ateneo de Davao, Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro), Initiatives for International Dialogue and MindaNews.
De Guzamn is the third Presidential candidate featured in Candid Dates 2022, after Norberto Gonzales and Ernesto Abella. Ruy Elias Lopez, candidate for mayor and Maria Victoria “Mags” Maglana, candidate for 1st district representative have also been featured. Lopez is challenging Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte while Maglana is challenging reelections Rep. Paolo Duterte.
The Duterte brothers have acknowledged receipt of the invitation, according to the Candid Dates’ secretariat.
(Yas D. Ocampo / MindaNews)