The Mindanao Development Corridors strategy will integrate the island’s economic development to help stimulate economic activities in developing and underdeveloped areas by linking them to growth centers through infrastructure and connectivity.
“The Duterte administration early on has identified infrastructure and industry development as key drivers for more robust economic activities in Mindanao– leading to more jobs creation, and poverty reduction,” said Romeo Montenegro, Deputy Executive Director, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) during the second day of the 29th Mindanao Business Conference held virtually for the first time online via live stream.
“The catalytic projects under the Mindanao development corridors are targeted to complement the strategies for agriculture and agribusiness, to achieve greater productivity along the value chain,” Montenegro noted. “This approach is also being vigorously pursued by our neighbors in ASEAN, particularly the BIMP-EAGA.”
The Mindanao Development Corridors are situated in Northern Mindanao, Western Mindanao, South Central Mindanao and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Spread across Mindanao regions, projects such as roads, bridges, airports, seaports, and railways under the Build Build Build program are expected to boost the potentials of Mindanao in terms of trade, tourism and commerce by improving how fast and cost efficient the transport of people, goods and services is undertaken, he added.
Among the Priority Public Investments listed by MinDA are the Panguil Bay Bridge, Laguindingan Airport Development Operation & Maintenance Project, Mindanao Railway System, Davao International Airport, New Zamboanga International Airport, Davao Sasa Port, Gensan Aerotropolis, Polloc Port Development and the Malacca Port Development in Tawi-Tawi.
“To complement this, MinDA is pushing for the development and deployment of additional renewable energy capacities that will be crucial in meeting Mindanao’s power requirement by 2030.”
To address growing power demand driven by rapid growth of industries, real estate, services and agribusiness, the island will need about 3,500 megawatts (MW) of new capacity between 2021-2030 assuming a 7-8% average annual growth rate.)
The Mindanao Energy Plan for 2013-2030 also takes into account a sustained 7-8% Gross Regional Domestic Product after 2022.
With agriculture as Mindanao’s comparative advantage, Montenegro said MinDA is also pushing for the establishment of the Special Agro Economic Zones, especially in areas under the Bangsamoro Economic Corridor.
“Mindanao’s economic reboot, restart and rebound– could best be leveraged on its inherent strength, and the country’s economic hero in the time of COVID– the agriculture sector,” Montenegro stressed.
MinDA has listed eight such AEZs in Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, Agusan del Sur, and the Picong Freeport, Hajj Terminal, and Agro-Economic Zone in Lanao del Sur.