Northern Mindanao’s headway in the industrial sector and transshipment industry could spur growth in the entire Mindanao cluster, especially under a federal form of government, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“As the gateway in and out of Mindanao, Region 10 is in the best position to usher investments straight into Mindanao and thus become a center of growth in the country under a federal form of government,” says DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya.
With the federalism’s distribution of power and wealth, the regional government will have the authority to further improve its shipping ports and docks through infrastructure development.
“It (federalism) can also stimulate manufacturing and processing of raw materials given the available mineral and agricultural products in Mindanao to be distributed all over the country and even abroad. The possibilities are endless,” says Malaya.
He adds that Northern Mindanao could easily become the country’s top growth center and exceed the prosperity exhibited by Metro Manila once the regional government is given free rein over its socioeconomic programs.
Northern Mindanao’s Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 targets an average of 5.8-7.6% annual growth and aims to reduce poverty incidence to 22-24% until the end of the Duterte administration.
According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Northern Mindanao recorded a 5.9% economic expansion in 2017, a slower growth compared to 2016.
Backing this growth would be building infrastructure to usher its agricultural produce towards sustainability and food security.
“Under federalism, the regional government will be better able to equip farmers with modern knowledge and technologies for more efficient means of agricultural production,” says Malaya.
Only by cultivating agricultural production, improving transshipment infrastructure and promoting potential tourism sites can the region realize its full potential, especially in trade, industry, and investment.
Along with economic development comes the need to provide basic services for the people in terms of health, education, and social protection programs.
But in order to buffer such developments, the regional government must ensure peace and order as well as make communities disaster-resilient.
In order to discuss the opportunities Northern Mindanao can realize under a federal form of government, the DILG will be visiting Cagayan de Oro (CDO) on September 19-20 for its regional roadshow for federalism.
Activities in the roadshow will include a media forum, some media guestings, a Pederalismoserye Town Hall Meeting with basic sectors and a convention/rally for federalism.
“We at the Department invite the people of Northern Mindanao to participate in our roadshow in order to learn more about the President’s desire to shift the current unitary system to a federal setup,” says Malaya.
The DILG, upon the President’s directives, acts as the head of an interagency team tasked to advocate for constitutional reform towards federalism.
With an aim to solve inequality in the Philippines, federalism seeks to decentralize the central government and share the power and revenues with the regions.