DOF says Mindanao growth centrepiece

WINDFALL. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez talks about the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure projects worth P70 billion which are all in Mindanao in his speech during a news conference for the Philippine Economic Briefing held at SMX Convention Center in Lanang, Davao City on Friday afternoon. LEAN DAVAL JR
WINDFALL. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez talks about the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure projects worth P70 billion which are all in Mindanao in his speech during a news conference for the Philippine Economic Briefing held at SMX Convention Center in Lanang, Davao City on Friday afternoon. LEAN DAVAL JR

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said that Mindanao will be the “centerpiece” of the Philippines’ unfolding growth narrative of infrastructure projects to improve economic production and transform the island into a major hub of agriculture and industry.

During the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) on Friday at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang, Davao City, Dominguez said the country’s infrastructure projects are designed to enhance economic production, open new irrigated lands for agriculture and make the movement of goods and people easier in Mindanao.

“With Mindanao as the focal point of the Duterte administration’s “Build Build Build” program, Dominguez said at least five of the government’s flagship infra projects are already approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, which is chaired by President Duterte, are in the South.

These are the: 1)  P5.4-billion Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Phase 2 in North Cotabato and Maguindanao, which is expected to service almost 10,000 hectares of land in 56 conflict-affected areas; 2) P4.86-billion Panguil Bay Bridge project that will connect Tangub City in Misamis Occidental and Tubod, Lanao del Norte, for completion in 2021; 3)  expansion and improvement projects in Davao International Airport and 4) Laguindingan Airport worth P40.57-billion and P14.6-billion, respectively, for completion in 2025; and 5)  102-kilometer Mindanao Railway Project Phase 1, Segment 1 worth 35.26 billion pesos that will connect Tagum, Davao City and Digos.

“The centerpiece of our growth story will be the island of Mindanao. Long neglected by the centers of political and economic power, the island hosted many years of festering conflicts and failed local governance,” Dominguez said during his Opening Statement at the Philippine Economic Briefing Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) held at the SMX Convention Center here.

Beginning this year, he said, the government will seek to reverse such neglect by making Mindanao “the spear point of our rapid economic growth.”

“It has the headroom, the talent, and the natural resources to perform that role,” he added.

He said that alongside these projects already approved by the NEDA Board, the government is also set to complete several big-ticket infra projects in Mindanao

Dominguez said that the Davao City Coastal Road is included , which is an 18.5-kilometer public works project that will help relieve traffic congestion in Davao City and a P19.8 billion allotted to the construction of the road project began last year and will be completed in 2022, Dominguez said.

All of these ventures in Mindanao are among the P8 trillion-worth of infra projects that the government aims to implement on the Duterte watch, he said.

Dominguez also said that the ongoing project is the Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network, which involves the construction or improvement of 2,567 kilometers of roads across Northern Mindanao, Davao, SOCCSKSARGEN (South Cotaboto-Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Saranggani-General Santos City) and the CARAGA regions with a allotted project cost of P98.15 billion which is scheduled for completion in 2019 that will link farms to markets across these regions. , Dominguez said.

“All of these ventures in Mindanao are among the P8 trillion-worth of infra projects that the government aims to implement on the Duterte watch,” he said.

He added that the Duterte administration expects to invest P8 trillion in new infrastructures. This will stimulate our economic growth in the short term and support the development of a competitive economy over the longer term,” Dominguez said.

“The end goal of the Duterte administration’s development efforts for Mindanao and the rest of the country is to bring down poverty incidence to just 14 percent by 2022,” Dominguez said.