2009 Filipino weightlifting winners call on PGMA
Manila (16 February) -- Filipino weightlifters who won medals in the 2009 Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting competitions held in Dubai Dec. 17-22 last year called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last Monday morning of February 15, 2010.
Olympian Hidilyn Diaz, who won the gold medal in the 58-kilogram category, joined compatriots Maybelyn Pablo (gold-69kgs), Patricia Llena (silver-63kgs), Jeffrey Garcia (bronze-50kgs), and Nestor Colonia (bronze-56kgs) in presenting to President Arroyo their awards.
They were accompanied to the Palace by Bacolod City Rep. Monico Puentebella and Philippine Sports Commission chair Harry Angping.
In an interview after the ceremony, Angping said the call on the President is a moral booster for the athletes, adding it inspires them to improve themselves, so that they would excel further in their respective sports further.
PGMA's Super Regions tour shifts to Mindanao
Manila (16 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo flies to Mindanao on Tuesday, February 16, 2010, for the third leg of her Super Regions tour, beginning with on-site inspection of an ongoing upgrading of the Surigao-Davao Coastal Road.
The road project links the eastern towns of Bacuag, Surigao del Norte and Mati, Davao Oriental. When completed, travel time between the two towns will be cut by by one-half, or from the usual eight hours to only four hours.
Necessarily, this will speed up the transport of products and services in these areas, notably from the Caraga region and Davao Oriental to the Davao Port and nearby ports.
The Arroyo administration has mapped out several development projects for Mindanao to spur the southern regions' economic growth under the Super Region strategy.
President Arroyo said she had identified two overriding objectives of her mission and visions for Mindanao.
First is to "unlock" the human and natural resource potentials of Mindanao and free the people from the threat of violence.
"We must free our young people in Mindanao from the scourge of poverty so that they may look to a brighter future. This future will be built on education, good roads and infrastructure, and jobs for them and their families," the Chief Executive stressed.
The second is to restore peace and prosperity in the region. The President pointed out that the people of Mindanao have suffered long enough.
"I have made sure that every single day as President, I put the needs of Mindanao front and center. We are investing in Mindanao at every level, for only investment in hope-not fear-will set the region free to grow and prosper," she said.
According to the President, the Mindanao Super Region is host to a number of companies, including multinationals that produce high value crops, fruits, vegetables for the domestic and global markets.
Mindanao produces also 100 percent of rubber and pineapple production, and 50 percent of coconut, considered as three of the country's top agricultural commodities.
Government peace initiatives under the Arroyo leadership have also attained breakthroughs towards the conclusion of a peace accord with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), notably the resumption of the on Dec. 8-9, 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The MILF strength has decreased by about 10 percent, or from 12,570 armed combatants nine years ago to 11, 352 as of third quarter last year. On the other hand, the manpower strength of the Abu Sayyaf Group was cut by almost one-half, or from 800 in 2001 to only 345 as of May last year.
"Peace and development go hand in hand. With agribusiness underpinning our unstoppable march towards peace and development in Mindanao, we are optimistic that the attainment of our development vision is at hand," President Arroyo emphasized.
Reaping the fruits of peace and development
The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) of the Mindanao Super Region grew by 42.977 percent, from P175.93 billion in 2000 to P251.53 billion in 2008. The GRDP growth rate of the Super Region expanded by 14.29 percent from an average of 6.02 percent in 2000 to 6.88 percent in 2007. In 2008, Mindanao's GRDP contributed 17.71 percent to national GDP.
The gross value added (GVA) of the Mindanao Super Region in agriculture and fishery increased by 38.95 percent from P64.52 billion in 2000 to P89.65 billion in 2008.
The inflow of investments and growth of the economy led to the increase in jobs and income in the Mindanao Super Region.
Employment rate increased from 92.5 percent in 2000 to 95.1 percent in 2009. More than half were employed in agriculture and other related sectors as of October 2007.
The average daily income of private sector workers increased from P110-P180 in 2000 to P195-P265 in 2009.
Citing government records, the President asserted that the much-improved peace and order situation in Mindanao has already resulted to growth of the agribusiness sector.
Supply of commercial fisheries grew by 28 percent from 737,600 metric tons (MT) in 2001 to 922,500 MT in 2008, accounting for 75.23 percent of the 1.23 million MT national production last year. On the other hand, chicken and hog industries grew by 28.3 percent and 18.64 percent, respectively, from 2001 to 2009.
Total banana exports increased by 13 percent from 418,654 MT in 2001 to 473,301 MT in 2009. Moreover, two giant banana exporting companies joined the Mindanao-based Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association.
Mindanao palay production increased from 3.14 million metric tons in 2001 to 3.79 million MT in 2008. This accounts for 23 percentof the 16.8 million MT national production in 2008. In addition, corn production went up by 32 percent, while coconut by 19.25 percent in 2008.
Approved investments in the Mindanao Super Region more than doubled from P23.01 billion in 2007 to P79.33 billion in 2009. Share of Mindanao investments to national Board of Investments-Philippine Export Processing Zone approved investment increased by three times from 6.5 percent in 2007 to 26.47 percent in 2009. (PIA) [top]