The Mindanao Economic Development Authority

Article excerpt

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.

Mindanao 2020

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 the current needs and potentials of Mindanao in accordance with its unique historical, social, political, economic and cultural background. This process - to the credit of MEDCo - has been started.

Plan for Mindanao modernization

In effect, Mindanao 2020 is a strategic plan for modernizing Mindanao. It upgrades earlier medium-term and long-range plans for achieving enduring peace and sustainable development in Southern Philippines, Palawan included. The principal partners/cooperators for its operationalization consists of, but not limited to, the:

(a) Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors, and Municipal Mayors Leagues of Mindanao (CONFED) headed by South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes;

(b) Mindanao Bloc, the group of lawmakers from Mindanao led by House Speaker Prospero Nograles;

(c) Mindanao Business Council, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and various business support organizations, chaired by Vic Lao;

(d) Kusog Mindanao, a group of civil society organizations headed by Rey Teves;

(e) Mindanao Studies Consortium Foundation, Incorporated, an association of academic institutions chaired by Fr. Bert Alejo;

(f) Bishop-Ulama Forum headed by Archbishop Fernando Capalla, Ulama League of the Philippines led by Aleem Mahmod Adilao, and United Church of Christ in the Philippines chaired by Dr. Mariano Apilado; and,

(g) Mindanao Indigenous Peoples headed by Datu Lipatuan Joel Unad, and PANAGTAGPO Mindanao under Datu Victorio Siway.

For the day-to-day implementation of Mindanao 2020, MEDCo is assisted by:

(a) Team of Experts - former Cabinet members working in partnership with Mindanao-based experts;

(b) Eminent Persons Group - respected leaders with extensive knowledge of Mindanao issues to provide general directions and insights; and,

(c) Team Mindanao - representatives/lead convenors of stakeholders actively involved in peace and development advocacy.

The refining process

True to its mandate, MEDCo is undertaking a scientific process to transform the existing Mindanao 2000 framework into a more refined roadmap - which is Mindanao 2020. These step-by-step activities are:

Phase I: Assessment of Mindanao 2000;

Phase II: Review of related studies and documents;

Phase III: Planning consultations;

Phase IV: Formulation of Mindanao 2020;

Phase V: Validation and finalization;

Phase VI: Launching of Mindanao 2020;

Phase VII: Advocacy activities; and

Phase VIII: Monitoring, evaluation, review and updating. …