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MinDA not Mindanao’s version of NEDA: Piñol

September 25, 2020 - Friday 12:09 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image Mindanao Development Authority ) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.

DAVAO CITY – Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairperson Emmanuel Piñol clarified Thursday that the agency is not Mindanao’s version of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), noting that it does not only act as a planning entity but oversees development programs as well.

Piñol made the clarification after Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri told MinDA officials during the Senate hearing on the agency’s PHP172 million budget for 2021 on Tuesday that its function is mainly to oversee major infrastructure programs in the region--like what NEDA does.

The Mindanao Development Authority Act of 2010 says the agency was created to “promote, coordinate and facilitate the active and extensive participation of all sectors to affect the socioeconomic development of Mindanao."

“Our mandate is to oversee and ensure the socio-economic development of Mindanao. But we are not Mindanao’s version of NEDA because we are not just a planning agency. We design and initiate projects, link up agencies and we work in the field,” Piñol said.

Zubiri said MinDA sounded more likely as the Department of Agriculture (DA) since most of its projects focused on the agriculture sector.

In response, Piñol said: “Yes, we are Mindanao’s DA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Tourism (DOT), and many more. All of these things we do with a budget of only PHP176 million.”

Before becoming the MinDA chair, Piñol was the secretary of DA from June 2016 to August 2019.

“Since this is the foundation of our economy, I always believed that building strong agriculture, fisheries would lead to the building of industries, would lead to the production of products that would be loaded in the trains that we are intending to establish in Mindanao,” the MinDA chief said during the budget hearing.

During the hearing, Piñol bared that MinDA’s National Expenditure Program (NEP) budget for Fiscal Year 2021 amounts to PHP172.3 million, which includes PHP6.9 million funding requirements for the mandatory expense item for Retirement and Life Insurance Premium, which is an "automatic appropriations."

“The NEP FY 2021 budget of the MinDA is slightly higher by 7 percent or PHP11.619 million than its 2020 budget. However, it is worthy to note that the current year's General Appropriations Act (GAA) budget of MinDA was reduced by PHP57.519 Million in favor of the financing requirements of the Bayanihan To Heal as One Act and in compliance with the provisions of the DBM NBC No. 580 or the adoption of the economic measures in the government due to the emergency health situation,” he said.

"In reality, the NEP FY 2021 budget is 22 percent lower if we compare it with unadjusted GAA budget allocation as appropriated," Piñol added.

Meanwhile, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go expressed support to the proposed budgets of the MinDA as he urged the government to continue promoting long-term peace and sustainable development in Mindanao.

Go also asked MinDA and other government agencies to implement important reforms to spur development in Mindanao.

“Mindanao and its people have suffered decades of injustice and social inequity. The government must continuously strive to bring about the much-needed reform and development in the Mindanao region and ensure just, inclusive and lasting peace in the area,” the senator said.

Go said the proposed Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program aims to achieve these development goals, pointing out that the initiative is seen to decongest Metro Manila and other big metropolitan areas by encouraging investments and promoting economic opportunities in all regions to motivate Filipinos to reside in their provinces.

He also lauded MinDA for its participation in the BP2 program.

“In coordination with concerned LGUs, BP2 member-agencies, and other relevant institutions, MinDA has initiated the preparation of relocation sites in Mindanao, and assisted host LGUs and concerned agencies in social mobilization,” Go said.

Last June, Piñol disclosed that the BP2 Council member-agencies concluded a series of consultations with various local officials in preparation for those who wish to relocate to the provinces. Che Palicte