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PIA Press Release

MEDCO embarks on consultations after new developments at the ASEAN Summit

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (17 January) -- The Mindanao Economic and Development Council (Medco) has embarked on series of consultations and follow up meetings after new developments took place at the ASEAN Summit that benefited the BIMP EAGA region.

Medco chair Virgilio Leyretana in a briefing with business reporters at Karls Kofi at SM City Davao yesterday said they need to revisit their existing plans and they are eyeing a short period of six months for the different sectors to respond and put in place the needed structures.

But he said what is good with the BIMP EAGA is that the mechanism is there.

He said there are events that could intervene in the implementation of projects like infrastructures that may be deferred because of the forthcoming May 2007 elections.

"But this will not prevent or stop us from doing what has been planned. Those that are ongoing should proceed as well as those that had completed bidding," he said.

He however said that those projects still to be processed will definitely be put on hold because of the election ban.

Among the major advocacies which MEDCO will be doing until March this year are focused on improving the financial capacity of the local government units.

He said there will be consultations on what to do with big ticket corporation that does not pay their taxes here and they will persuade the Bureau of Internal Revenue to do something about it because the gross regional domestic product of Mindanao has been affected.

He also said that perhaps there is a need to amend the law so that arrangement for big companies to pay their taxes here in Davao can be applied.

Leyretana said initial talks will be discussed during the 1st Mindanao Governors Forum next month in Pagadian City and whatever inputs that will be gathered will be presented during the 1st BIMP EAGA Governors Forum to be held in Davao City on March.

"We wanted to prepare the local government units inorder for them to improve on economic activities because not many of them have explored their corporate powers," he said.

He said in the Philippines only a few with Quezon City topping the list and other cities like Makati, Cebu, and Naga had other sources of income and not mainly relying on the Internal Revenue Allotment.

The discussion on putting up of geographic information system is also crucial and this is also one of the concerns that they need to tackle within the first three months of the year, he said.

Other activities aside from revisiting the Mindanao Investment Plan are follow through meeting with Philippine counterparts in Kota Kinabalu to discuss further the agreements that were signed during last Asean Summit in Cebu. (PIA XI) [top]

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