Mindanao “growth corridors” are currently being pushed for as the country gears up for the economic integration of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 2015.
Luwalhati Antonino, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairman, explained in the recently held 22nd Mindanao Business Conference in Davao City that growth corridors are development strategies aimed to accelerate economic development in Mindanao.
According to her, MinDA has crafted its framework called “Mindanao Innovation and Growth Corridors Development Program,” which involves long-term development program for Mindanao’s socio-economic growth.
The program includes establishment of Mindanao Food, Agribusiness and Logistics Corridor comprising of Mati, Tagum, Davao, Island Garden City of Samal, South Cotabato, General Santos and Sarangani, of which economic activities are largely on agri-industry, agri-processing and mineral resource-based industries.
Antonino said that enhancing infrastructure and logistics support in key production areas will improve Mindanao’s connectivity within the island-region and to the rest of the country, as well as to the Asean Community.
“We are strengthening our local supply chain management system in Southern Mindanao and will connect this to international export gateways and growth corridors, through the convergence of inter-province and inter-city road networks and ports improvement,” she said.
Antonino cited that the improvement of the Tagum-Davao-General Santos road link and the proposed Davao City by-pass Road are intended to integrate these road networks to the Davao-General Santos City export gateway.
The same road network system improvement, according to her, is planned for the Northern Mindanao, Caraga and Western Mindanao export gateways, all of which will belong to growth corridors based on their predominant industries.
Meanwhile, the Mindanao Industrial Trade Corridor will encompass Surigao Norte, Butuan, Pagadian, Dipolog, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro and the rest of the Northern Mindanao province, while the Mindanao Food Basket Corridor covers Central Mindanao and Bukidnon.
Surigao, Agusan and Davao Oriental will comprise the Mindanao Biodiversity and Ecotourism Corridor, while Zamboanga, Basilan Sulu and Tawi-tawi will form the Mindanao Mariculture and Trade corridor.
“Well-placed infrastructure will allow Mindanao’s top exports sourced mainly from rural areas to expediently reach urban centers for processing and marketing, and arrive at our export gateways faster and in better shape,” Antonino said.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, in his presentation to the conference, revealed the allocation of P34 billion for Mindanao’s infrastructure development for 2014, the highest it has ever received.