Mindanao Growth Beats Luzon and Visayas

Indicators of Mindanao islands’ economic performance for the past five years had, for the first time, surpassed that of Luzon and the Visayas, Assistant Secretary Virgilio Leyretana of the Mindanao Economic and Development Council (Medco) said.

He said that Mindanao’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) posts 5.2 per cent with the agriculture sector posting the biggest at 34 per cent, industry sector, 15 percent and services sector with 13 per cent.

Citing 2005-2006 growth rate figures of the National Statistical Board, he said Region 10 marked the highest growth rate in five years at 6.8 per cent followed by Region 12, 6.7 per cent, Caraga Region, 4.9 percent, Davao Region, 4.4 per cent, Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), 4.1 per cent and Region 9, 2.1 per cent.

“When there are significant businesses, the economy is stronger and the peace and order condition is more stable,” he said.

Leyretana revealed that Mindanao island is now referred to as agriculture and service center.

However, he said in terms of Board of Investment (BOI)-registered investments on the ground, Davao Region had the biggest equity investment share of P3.086 billion in 2006 and went double in 2007 with P6.124 billion as local investment went up by 70 percent.

“Mindanao should be extended the necessary financial support because by island group allocation in 2000-2005, it only got 28% or P75.71 billion compared to Luzon with P138.97 billion and the Visayas with P54.84 billion or 20 percent”

The Davao Region has 11 investment projects, the highest in Mindanao region with power generation making up the bulk of the investments, he said.

But Leyretana said other existing government policies must be reviewed and urged the legislators to look into this concern.

He said the local government units, together with MEDCo, are already working on proposals with specific details and concerns.

He admitted, however, that this will take time but he said that there has to be convergence between the national and the local policies and laws. Those concerning agriculture must be reviewed, together with land usage.

He said the local government units, based on the local government code, can come up with their own land use and classification but there has to be a national law to serve as guide.

“There is no national land use and classification,” Leyretana said,” and this must be provided to ensure that there is harmonization within the country.

He also said Mindanao should be extended the necessary financial support because by island group allocation in 2000-2005, it only got 28 percent or P75.71 billion compared Luzon with P138.97 billion and the Visayas with P54.84 billion or 20 percen

“This needs to be looked at especially by our Mindanao legislators to ensure eonomic equity,” he said. (with WIRE reports)

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