Mindanao solons back MEDA bill
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (18 February) -- Mindanao representatives are supportive to the creation of the Mindanao Economic Development Authority (MEDA).
Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCO) chair Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana Sr. bared this in yesterday's Kapihan sa Dabaw after the joint congressional hearing held last February 10.
"The support is to ensure an integrated and more coordinated approach in pursuing socio-economic programs for the island," Leyretana said.
House Bill 5255 contains the proposal of strengthening MEDCO by converting it into MEDA.
The bill also contains the proposal that MEDA will act as the Philippine coordinating office for the BIMP-EAGA or the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-The Philippines East Growth Area.
Maguindanao representative Simeon Datumanong, one of the authors of the bill, clarified that MEDA is not a new layer in the bureaucracy, but merely converts MEDCO into MEDA.
He also stressed that MEDA will not duplicate Southern Philippine Development Authority (SPDA) since the latter implements the 1996 Final Peace Agreement while MEDA could ensure a more holistic approach in narrowing development gaps between Mindanao and the rest of the country.
A technical working group was formed to consolidate four proposals into a single bill institutionalizing a planning mechanism for Mindanao.
The other two bills pending in Congress are HB 186 or creating the Mindanao Incentives Development Authority, and HB 2303 creating the Mindanao Development Authority. (PIA XI) [top]