Mindanao leaders have intensified the lobbying for the increase in budget for Mindanao so that projects intended for the islands will be implemented before the end of the term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Even with the approval of the 2019 budget, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is still trying to lobby for the realignment of some projects so that more funds will be set aside for Mindanao, said Adrian Tamayo, MinDA head for public relations.
“(The bigger budget is needed to) really start the Mindanao Railway System, the General Santos aerotropolis, the Mindanao River Basin project, the Zamboanga City airport, the Tawi-tawi ecozone, and other ecozones,” said Tamayo, citing that instead of increasing the national budget, what the national government must do is to realign other funds for some line agencies for Mindanao.
“The 2019 budget allocation has been approved so if it’s done, you cannot change it, you just need these line agencies to reallocate more (funds) for Mindanao,” he said, pointing out that congressional leaders from Mindanao have been doing everything to increase the budget intended for the island.
Tamayo said the agency is asking the economic cluster, both the Finance department and the National Economic and Development Authority, “to really look into the shares of the different agencies” and craft mechanisms to increase the Mindanao budget in the incoming years.
More funds are intended, he said, as MinDA has proposed 12 catalytic projects that include the Mindanao Railway System, the economic zones and free port, roads and other infrastructure projects.