• P34B set aside for Mindanao projects

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    The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said recently that it has allocated P34 billion for Mindanao’s infrastructure development for 2014.

    DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said in his presentation to the recently in the 22nd Mindanao Business Conference held in Davao City that separate infrastructure support to Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) totaled P8.78 billion, inclusive of other projects funded from 2011.

    As the country gears up for its integration into a single Asean market in 2015, Mindanao pushes regional growth corridors as its gateways to the Asean Economic Community.

    “Growth corridors can spur economic activities in rural areas and urban centers, providing more opportunities for our industries and enabling them to participate in the Asean community through our export gateways,” said Luwalhati Antonino, chairman of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

    Antonino said that growth corridors are development strategies aimed to accelerate economic development in Mindanao and designed to provide equitable opportunities for rural enterprises to grow and become more competitive.

    Called the Mindanao Innovation and Growth Corridors Development Program, MinDA has crafted its framework and is advocating the initiative as part of a larger and more long-term development program for Mindanao’s socioeconomic growth.

    Infrastructure development

    The presentation of other cabinet secretaries also showed support to the much needed infrastructure development in Mindanao. For one, DOTC will improve the transport and logistics system by rehabilitating 15 airports and 46 ports all over Mindanao.

    Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the Davao-Sasa port will undergo modernization and privatization, and the Davao International Airport will be improved in time for APEC in 2015, which the Philippines will be hosting.

    The DOTC will also complete the development of the new Laguindingan Airport and pursue the night-rating of Dipolog Airport, Ozamis Airport and Cotabato Airport.

    DOTC will also undertake the P56.5-billion Central Spine RoRo Project to create the Manila-Panay-Negros-Cebu-Bohol-Northern Mindanao route, cutting down travel time from Manila to Mindanao to about 20 hours.

    To enhance maritime connectivity in the region, the Asean RoRo Initiative will create a route between General Santos and Bitung, Indonesia, with the possible inclusion of Davao via a private port in Lanang.

    Antonino said 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.

    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 industry.

    Antonino also said that the improvement of the Tagum-Davao-General Santos road link and the proposed Davao City by-pass Road is intended to integrate these road networks to the Davao-General Santos City export gateway.

    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.

    “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.

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