By Antonio Colina IV, September 4 2018; Manila Bulletin


Image Credit to Manila Bulletin

DAVAO CITY – The P581.8-billion budget for Mindanao, which represents a 15.6-percent share in the proposed P3.757 trillion national budget for 2019 is too small, and the island should get at least 20 percent for it to able to reverse the poverty trend in its provinces, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) public relations manager Dr. Adrian Tamayo.

Tamayo said the government must give Mindanao a larger share of the national budget that will allow its local government units (LGUs) to fund the infrastructure projects that would help unlock its potential.

He said the 20 percent increase could become a “catch-up budget” so that Mindanao will grow at the expected economic size it has to be.

“Mindanao’s poverty incidence is higher than the other areas hence the need to increase budget share to reverse the poverty trend,” he said.

He said the infrastructure development, such as roads, accounts only for 64 percent and road projects are needed to interlink and connect areas and places in Mindanao.

He added that Mindanao only gets 16 of the 75 identified “Build, Build, Build” projects.

“The current Mindanao share of 15.6 percent is like a consolation from the 11 to 12 percent historical share of Mindanao. It will only perpetuate the regional disparities at the cost of Mindanao and its future,” Tamayo said.

To compensate for the remaining 4.4%, he urged agencies like the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Department of Information and Communications Technlogy (DICT), and Department of Trade and Industry to realign line item budget for Mindanao.

“It means allowing Mindanao to catch up with inter connectivity by railways, digital opportunities and trade & commerce,” he said.

Data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed that Mindanao’s proposed budget for 2019 would P29.1 billion lower compared to 2018’s budget of P615 billion.