By Maya M. Padillo
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) deputy executive director Romeo Montenegro told media a total of P18 billion worth of projects with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is allocated for Mindanao in 2018.
Montenegro said for 2018 as a result of a joint planning and programming between MinDA and DPWH, they are able to secure continuing allocation for 15 out of the 25 projects approved in 2017 for a total of P12 billion and an inclusion of additional 15 new projects for 2018 for a total of P18 billion.
He said that in 2017, Mindanao secured approval of 25 projects particularly in the areas of roads, bridges, and flood control projects totaling around P17 billion in Mindanao.
“That’s for 2017. These are long standing projects at hindi ito ma–kumpleto in one or two years. That is why it had to be allocated with continuing funds in 2018,” he said.
Montenegro said they have yet to start their joint planning and programming formally, although they have had preliminary discussions already in the transport sector particularly with the Department of Transportation (DoTr) for ports and airports in Mindanao.
“Mindanao railway is with DoTR and from what we understand, the section of Tagum-Davao-Digos is going to be the first one that will have to be implemented,” he said.
Montenegro said these are some of the efforts to strengthen investor confidence in Mindanao.
He said his office is reviving its investment missions and trade promotion to provide better context on the overall Mindanao situation, knowing that potential investors might be reading the wrong information about the island.
Also part of MinDA’s efforts is to accelerate government approval of its proposed projects under its Mindanao Development Corridors Program. MinDA’s priority infrastructure projects are expected to lay the ground for business and development to thrive, Montenegro noted. He said this kind of infrastructure network “will facilitate faster movement of people, goods, and commodities.”
Montenegro pointed out that there has been no slowdown of agricultural production across Mindanao on account of the situation in Marawi.