MinDA angling for 20% share of budget for Mindanao

THE Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) asked the government to allocate the southern islands at least 20% of the national budget next year to support agriculture and aquaculture projects which will improve livelihoods.

At a hearing conducted by the House Committee on Mindanao Affairs, MinDA Undersecretary Romeo M. Montenegro said the agency hopes for increased National Government investment in Mindanao, especially in agriculture.

“We hope that the 2022 budget, the last budget cycle of this administration, will at least deliver for Mindanao around 20% of the national budget allocation at the minimum,” he said.

He added that funding for Mindanao will “connect our production areas to the production centers and the market centers with the needed infrastructure for the last several years, Mindanao has been wanting.”

Mindanao has historically received little National Government investment, as has agriculture overall, he said.

Mr. Montenegro also said Mindanao has the largest share of unirrigated land but was given only 10% of the 2020 funding for the National Irrigation Administration.

MinDA said it is pursuing programs that will boost productivity in agriculture and aquaculture in partnership with various agencies and stakeholders to boost production in fisheries and aquaculture, hog raising, cattle ranching, poultry, corn, and vegetable cultivation.

MinDA Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol said at the hearing that the agency recently established the Mindanao Economic Recovery Facilitation Council.

He added next week, he will be meeting with regional officials of major national agencies “in addressing the concerns of our people and ensuring all of our programs and projects are synced towards a common objective of boosting Mindanao’s economic recovery.” — Gillian M. Cortez