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PIA Press Release

PGMA starts Agribusiness Mindanao Tour with another bus ride

Butuan City (17 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo launched her Agribusiness Mindanao Super-Region tour yesterday, February 16, 2010, with a bus ride through the Lingig, Surigao del Sur portion of the Surigao-Davao Coastal Road.

The Lingig section, which connects to the road that starts in Surigao del Norte, follows the coast to Surigao del Sur and down to Davao Oriental.

When completed, the Coastal Road will open wide areas of land in Eastern Mindanao to agricultural development, boosting the President's vision of Mindanao as the country's breadbasket.

Earlier, in a talk to communities in Mainit, Surigao del Norte, the President said that Surigao del Norte, one of the 10 poorest provinces in the country, should be "liberated" from poverty by improving the productivity and incomes of farmers and opening markets through ports and other vital infrastructures.

Surigao del Norte is part of Agribusiness Mindanao, one of the five super regions mapped out by the Arroyo administration in 2006 to spur the country's economic development.

"We invested in the region's productivity through the provision of 300 composting facilities giving MRF's(materials recovery facilities) so that garbage becomes fertilizer, building irrigation for 400,000 hectares in Mindanao, spending P9 billion in farm-to-market roads, and building major infrastructure like the Surigao-Davao coastal roads and ports," she said.

The President was accompanied in Surigao del Norte by Transportation and Communication Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Horacio Ramos, Public Works and Highways Secretary Victor Domingo, Press Secretary Crispulo Icban, Jr., Agribusiness Mindanao Super Region Champion Secretary Jesus Dureza, Commissioner Luningning Omar of the Commission on Higher Education and Agusan del Norte 1st District Rep. Jose Aquino.

Prior to the President's arrival in Mainit, Surigao del Norte, the DENR held a composting demonstration for students and farmers using used truck tires, carabao manure, farm wastes and farm or garden soil. The President tasked the DENR to coordinate with all LGUs to adopt the recovery facilities in all barangays as required by law.

The President cited the help of the Land Bank of the Philippines, which during her administration has so far provided P161 billion in countryside loans of which P46 billion went to Mindanao.

The Chief Executive arrived in Davao City for the third leg of her Super Region tour, which is now focused on Agribusiness Mindanao.

In Davao, the President said the national government spent P5billion in the Surigao-Davao Coastal Road which is strategic to the development of Mindanao as the agribusiness Center of the South.

"This road used to be carabao road; now it's a concrete road. The Surigao-Davao Coastal Road probably got the biggest allocation for road projects from the General Appropriations Act," the President told the media in an informal interaction there.

The President stressed that she focused on the construction of roads as roads are "anti-poverty instruments."

She added that the Surigao-Davao Coastal Road was realized because of increased government revenues through the implementation of the expanded value-added tax law.

"We can't construct any project without any funds-- katas ng VAT, that's it," she said.

The President also said the construction of the Bislig-Lingig Road will improve the lives of the people of Lingig, a poor municipality in Surigao del Sur. An additional P400 million will be released by the Department of Budget and Management for the project upon instruction of the President.

On February 17, the President will continue her tour of the Agribusiness Mindanao super region where she will visit Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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