LAST July 1, 2008, the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) - which is under the Office of the President and chaired by Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana - launched the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan (Mindanao 2020). This was the product of months of research, inter-agency coordination and people-consultation.
I was among the resource persons invited to participate and speak at that launching ceremony in Davao City. The new framework plan had the concurrence of key government officials, LGUs, NGOs, academe, private business, other civil society groups, and the donor community.
Mindanao 2020 is the upgraded sequel to Mindanao 2000 Development Framework Plan (Mindanao 2000). Promulgated in 1995, Mindanao 2000 was the essential precursor to the GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement of September 1996, and paved the way for an integrated set of economic and social reforms. But, since 2005, Southern Philippines has unveiled fresh opportunities and new challenges which called for a strategic roadmap more responsive to and more in-sync with present and anticipated regional and global conditions. Examples of such realities not yet fully exploited are ICT/BPO potentials, indigenous alternative energy options, "Coral Triangle" marine resources, agri-aqua business, transportation liberalization, and education networking.
Hence, there is a compelling need to formulate Mindanao 2020 as a holistic, multidimensional and integrated peace and development strategy that is attuned to …