DAVAO CITY: President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday painted a very rosy picture of Mindanao as a “Land of Promise to a land of Promises Fulfilled.”
Aquino, who attended the launching of the Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Program by the Philippine Business for Social Progress, said the government and business sector are working together to “make Mindanao a more attractive area for investments.”
“We are all aware of the great potential of Mindanao, especially in terms of agriculture,” the president said.
Aquino underscored Mindanao’s role in the production of rubber, cacao, pineapple, coffee, coconut.
“Over 40 percent of our food supply, and more than 30 percent of the produce we trade domestically come from Mindanao —not to mention its strong contribution to our fisheries production. Most important of all, however, is the fact that Mindanao has a people determined to succeed,” he said.
He noted how Mindanao lagged behind as a result of corruption and unrest in the region.
“Self-interest and transactionalism bred a vicious cycle of poverty, political patronage, and underdevelopment —this in turn fuelled the discontent of our brothers in the Bangsamoro,” the president said.
“We reformed the system invested in communities, synchronized the elections of ARMM with our local and national elections, and worked workers building genuine consensus and trust, knowing full well that these were fundamental to our pursuit of peace.”
Aquino enumerated the projects that facilitated Mindanao development, including the 3.491 kilometers of national roads, 208.4 farm-to-market roads, and the P99 billion “vital infrastructure” projects in the region.
The president also thanked the business sector for its role in the development of Mindanao. He said PBSP, through the Mindanao Inclusive Agribusiness Program, are out to support Mindanao’s small farming communities, something that will enable “them to capitalise on the rich resources and the many opportunities in the region.”
“The objective for all of us—to build Mindanao that can catch up in the soonest possible time, and, by doing, create a regime of opportunities where no Filipino is left behind.”
He said he will highlight the developments in Mindanao during his upcoming visits to Europe and the United States.
“The changing face of Mindanao is among our greatest sources of pride,” he said. “It is a region that, once mired in strife, will soon realize its dreams of peace and prosperity, of innovation and advancement, of being a wellspring of opportunity for its peoples.
This, I believe, is the great legacy we work towards, a legacy we proudly can bequeath to the next generation.”