MEDA to bring Mindanao voice nearer to central gov't
Koronadal City (12 February) -- South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes has called for the conversion of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) into the Mindanao Economic Development Authority (MEDA), saying that a single unifying body is essential in bringing the voice of Mindanao closer to the national government.
"We need a single body that will unify our voices in bringing the Mindanao agenda into the full attention of the central region," Fuentes said, adding that Mindanao has been paid the least attention in terms of the need for policy support.
She said that though the conversion of MEDCo into MEDA may be considered "revolutionary" as it may require changing some current institutional arrangements, she urged that "we must look beyond turfing issues" and focus on what Mindanao really needs.
Because of its integrative role in Mindanao's development, Fuentes said that having an agency like MEDA is important in converting the "parochial" view of development of local government units into the value of inter-regional complementation which she said will create more impact for Mindanao.
Governor Fuentes said that by creating a Mindanao-wide body which is permanent, Mindanao will not be suffering anymore from a fragmented economy as in the past.
Created in 1992, MEDCo has evolved from integrating and coordinating the sector participation in Mindanao to actively promote efforts that encourage more trade, tourism and investments in the island-region.
Fuentes said that MEDA shall not only provide a forum that will discuss Mindanao's socio-economic concerns but as well as peace and development efforts.
Fuentes, who is current president of the Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors and Municipal Mayors League Presidents of Mindanao (CONFED-Mindanao), added that thru MEDA local governance will be strengthened and be more meaningful as this will provide more opportunities for the region.
Last 2007, the province of South Cotabato spearheaded the Local Government Forum which gathered local governments under the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
The heads of local governments who participated in the forum agreed to strengthen cooperation by elevating the relevance of local governance in the over-all development efforts in Mindanao and its BIMP-EAGA counterparts.
The MEDA's role shall be "to promote, coordinate and facilitate the active and extensive participation of all sectors to effect the socio-economic development of Mindanao." It shall also "act as an implementing agency for Mindanao-specific interregional and Mindanao-wide programs and projects whenever necessary". (Medco/PIA XI) [top]