17 May 2012
REPRESENTATIVES from the business, civil society, and government agencies met Tuesday in Cagayan de Oro to draft a road map for the economic future of Mindanao by 2020. Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Luwalhati Antonino said during the Mindanao Economic Policy forum that many of the issues confronting Mindanao today and the strategic way forward actions that need to be pursued are embodied in the Mindanao Peace and Development Framework plan (Mindanao 2020) which MinDA presented to President Aquino in 2010 as the administration’s agenda for Mindanao. In the Mindanao 2020 plan, the economic policies are embodied in the 10-point agenda. “This holistic, integrative and multi-dimensional plan is hoped to transform Mindanao into a peaceful, integrated, cohesive and dynamic isLand-economy that will be at the forefront of our country’s sustainable development within the next twenty years,” Antonino said.
Antonino added that the blueprint for Mindanao’s future goes well beyond economic and infrastructure development, and addresses other dimensions that are integral to Mindanao’s holistic sustainable development, such as peace and security, human development, and social cohesion, governance and institutions. Antonino, who was appointed to the position as MinDA Secretary by President Aquino, said the government’s policy is to endeavor to pursue progress and transformation for the isLandregion, not only in the context of securing peace amid history of confl ict but also in terms of harnessing its inherently rich economic potentials for the benefi t primarily of Mindanawons. In the formulation of Mindanao 2020, the following guiding principles were adhered to:
Holistic and integrative planning, which addresses the social, economic, environmental, cultural, political/institutional and spiritual dimensions of human welfare as interrelated and mutually reinforcing concerns; Environment and natural resources as the foundation for the peace and development roadmap to the future of Mindanao, implying that these must endure and be judiciously sustained into the future; Considerat ion for the larger national, regional and global context, i.e. planning with full consideration of the dynamic changes in the national and international Landscapes; Subsidiarity, asserting that units of governance closest to the people must be the primary determinants of actions and interventions to address problems and issues that begins in communities; Pluralism and cultural diversity as a strength that can be harnessed through appropriate attitudes and motivation;
Paramount importance of good governance in effectively addressing injustice and poverty, and in promoting sustainable development; Participation of women and youth as essential elements for the success of various peace and development interventions; Affi rmative action and a preferential option for Mindanao to redress traditional injustices and restore confl ictdamaged facilities and institutions; Sensitivity to the various dimensions of confl ict in addressing traditional challenges; and Wide ownership secured through a participatory plan formulation process, critical to gaining wide support towards its successful implementation.
Antonino added that it may sound like an ambitious plan for Mindanao, but that Mindanao 2020 is fi t for the people of Mindanao. “We should dream, we should not be content with what we have now, and this is not for ourselves but for our children, they will benefit these policies,” Antonino said. Sam Chittick, governance advisor of the Austalian Assistance for International Development (AusAID), said “Mindanao must change. That the opening sentence of the Mindanao 2020 report sets out the fundamental challenge for everyone here today, and all those interested in future growth and peace in Mindanao. This statement, through the voice of all Mindanawons, challenges each of us to consider what we’ve done, what we are doing, and what we can do to help change the fundamental dynamics that have constrained Mindanao for decades.”
Chittick added that the Mindanao 2020 is a labor of love for many people “including some of the best and brightest minds of Mindanao, like Dr. Ciel Habito, Ella Antonio, Fr. Bert Alejo, Fr. Jun Mercado, Dr. Ric Eguia, Marian Roces, Edtami Mansayagan, Samira Gutoc, and Dean Tony La Vina,” Chittick said. Chittick added that these authors were responsible for many consultations around Mindanao, and a large part of their role was listening to the desires of the varied interests of Mindanawons. Antonino said the Mindanao Economic Policy forum would hopefully be able to fruitfully discuss, validate and supplement the observations and analysis contained in the policy papers so as to generate shared consensus, offer alternative perspective and recommendations.
She added that the policy papers will be presented by experts from the Brain Trust led by former National Economic Development Authority director Dr. Ciel Habito, whose team had assisted MinDA in the formulation of the Mindanao 2020. “In line with this, the administration of President Aquino is truly committed to give Mindanao the attention it deserves in the pursuit of our social development and poverty alleviation initiatives, apart from our general thrust for inclusive growth and widely-shared economic development,” she said.