Top exec decries lack of PPP projects for Mindanao
by Noel Baguio
Davao City (26 November) -- The Mindanao region, which has long been enduring perennial unequal share of the national pie, should get more projects from the Aquino government's centerpiece private-public partnership (PPP) program.
Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario, who is the newly-elected president of the Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors and Municipal Mayors League Presidents of Mindanao (Confed), expressed strong concern that only one project was allocated for Mindanao, out of the 10 PPP projects identified for implementation next year.
Last week, the Aquino administration bade out more than P100 billion in infrastructure projects for 2011 that will boost tourism, improve the food supply chain and improve general infrastructure all over the country.
Del Rosario lamented that of the 10 vital infrastructure projects opened for both local and foreign private investments under the PPP program, only the privatization of the Laguindingan Airport Operation and Maintenance project was given to Mindanao.
"That could mean either there is no viable project for Mindanao or we are neglecting ourselves by not proposing good projects to the national government," he said.
The top executive reasoned out that the persistent meager share of Mindanao from the national budget could be explained since funds from the national government are being appropriated to the regions and LGUs based on certain criteria like population, land area, income, and in some cases, the onslaught of calamities.
But, with the PPP program that requires no guidance of population and other criteria, it is undesirable that the island would not get an equal share of the big-ticket infrastructure projects.
He said there are quite a good number of important projects for Mindanao that he believes would really qualify under the PPP program.
"All we have to do is propose major projects for Mindanao. But, nobody seems to be looking into it," he observed.
According to him, the problem lies in the nonchalant participation of the Mindanao leaders in local development planning, which has also entangled the region into persistently getting a miniscule share of the national budget.
"Most of the provinces in Mindanao are not doing their planning properly and they are not submitting the proper requirement to the RDC for consideration and for presentation to the NEDA," he observed.
He said, as Confed president he will see to it that critical development programs and projects in Mindanao will be funded, particularly those that require private sector participation under the government's PPP program.
Being Confed chair, Del Rosario is mandated by law to sit as a member of the Board of Directors of the Mindanao Development Authority (MINDA), which was created last February 2010 to "promote, coordinate and facilitate the active and extensive participation of all sectors to effect the socioeconomic development of Mindanao."
"Now that we have the MINDA, I urge every single governor and mayor of Mindanao to better start working and come up with worthwhile projects that can provide the necessary push to develop Mindanao. We must press for a bigger share of the national budget," del Rosario appealed.
He mentioned worthwhile projects under the PPP program should include, among others, the proposed reclamation project in Davao City; opening up of new arterial highways to decongest the national road leading to Davao City and the proposed Davao del Norte ? Agusan Sur Road via Barangay Gupitan of Kapalong town. (CIO Tagum) [top]