Luczon: Bolstering economic prospects for Northern Mindanao

Nef Luczon

THIS week, the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Northern Mindanao will officially unveil its Regional Development Plan (RDP) for 2017 to 2022. This is of course, aligned with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) that the new administration has set, having some new areas being included and some were a continuation from previous administrations, with a touch of improvement.

The 2017-2022 Development Plans for the country and the region are structured along the pillars of "malasakit (care)," which aims to enhance the social fabric, "pagbabago (change)," that focuses on inequality-reducing transformation, and "patuloy na pag-unlad (continuous progress)" towards inclusive growth by increasing growth potential, which leads to a high-trust and resilient society, and a globally competitive economy.

The RDP has been approved by the RDC-Northern Mindanao, led by its current chair, Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri Sr., in December last year, after a series of provincial consultations and joint sectoral committee meetings.

Leon Dacanay, Jr., the Regional Director of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda)-Northern Mindanao presented the RDP’s highlights of the plan, which envisions Northern Mindanao as the leading trade center and industrial core in Southern Philippines and sets strategies to attain a strongly rooted, comfortable and secure life for all.

It can be noted that such vision is not entirely different from previous vision statements over the past years, because who doesn’t want a progressive economy? Except, perhaps, the terrorists.

Another interesting take from last year’s RDC meeting, the Council has approved the following resolutions: (a) a P40-million budget allocation requested from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Northern Mindanao for the acquisition of the road right-of-way for the Mandulog River Flood Control Project in Iligan City; (b) Endorsing to the DPWH the proposed new road alignment leading to the proposed Laguindigan Seaport in Misamis Oriental; (c) Requesting the DPWH to prepare the Drainage System Master Plans for Oroquieta City and the municipality of Clarin, Misamis Occidental; and (d) Supporting the RDC-4B’s resolution requesting Maritime Industry Authority Interventions on ensuring that shipping vessels provide accessibility features for persons with disability and senior citizens.

These resolutions are in a way streamlined under “Dutertenomics Build! Build! Build!” program, of which among the reforms are “the acceleration of infrastructure and the development of industries that will yield robust growth across the archipelago, create jobs and uplift the lives of Filipinos.” In addition, infrastructure is one of the top priorities of the current administration with targeted projects that will reach up to P9-trillion for the period of 2017-2022.

However, all of these have yet to be seen in the next years to come and there is a need to closely monitor its activities especially on the actual operations and bureaucratic process being implemented, which not to mention, the transparency of potential bidders who will enact these plans.

While the country is marred with issues of security, especially that the region is at close proximity with armed conflicts, we can acknowledge at some point that there are people behind this administration who are sincere in coming up with strategies to alleviate the living conditions of the majority. However, it cannot be said to other people who hide behind the clout of influence of the president but have done more damage than being productive.

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