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PIA Press Release

Party-list groups back MinDA bill

Quezon City (24 June) -- Elected party-list groups at the House of Representatives have recently forged support to the proposed legislative measure seeking the creation of a permanent Mindanao development body.

Anak Mindanao Party-List Representative Ariel Hernandez said that the proposed act creating the Mindanao Development Authority or MinDA will open up more "legroom" for Mindanao to develop as an integrated economy.

"I manifest support to become a co-author of this bill because we feel that this is very important to Mindanao, particularly in developing its own economy," Hernandez said at the joint committee hearing on MinDA held recently by the House Committee on Mindanao Affairs and on Government Enterprises and Privatization.

Hernandez, also a member of the Special House Committee on BIMP-EAGA, added that the EAGA framework embodied in this bill is also 'very meaningful and relevant' to Mindanao's overall development.

Section 5 of MinDA act proposes that it shall act as the Philippine Coordinating Office for the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), the lead government agency in coordinating the formulation and implementation of all Philippine-EAGA activities, programs and projects.

It shall also be the prime agency that will advocate for the adoption and approval of policies as well as promotion of initiatives for the growth of BIMP-EAGA.

Gabriela Women's Party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan also supported the move to legislate MinDA, saying it is high time that Mindanao gets a fair share of the national development pie. Ilagan however urged the authors of the bill to specify the identification of non-government representatives to the MinDA Board. Section 6 of the MinDA bill says that the MinDA board of directors shall have four representatives from the private sector, particularly coming from the academe, business and NGO sector.

"This is a valid concern because even in Mindanao, we have areas that are not equal in terms of development and representation," said Ilagan.

Zamboanga del Sur Representative Antonio Cerilles, chair of the technical working group on MEDA bill, concurred with Ilagan's concern but said that the identification of duly appointed representatives to the MinDA board can be addressed in the crafting of bill's implementing rules and regulations. He urged Gabriela to actively participate in the formulation of IRR.

Meanwhile, newly-elected You Against Corruption and Poverty (YACAP) Party-list Rep. Carol Lopez also expressed that they would like to be included as co-author of the MinDA bill.

The joint committee approved last week the MinDA bill, a substitute version of House Bills 5255, 5260 and 2303 which similarly push for the creation of a permanent Mindanao development body.

MinDA bill is a by-product of three bills, HB 5255, HB 5260 and HB 2303, all similar in subject which is to create a Mindanao-wide development mechanism that will integrate and harmonize all development efforts in the island. (MEDCo/PIA XI) [top]

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