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EGALITARIAN | Catching up with our neighbors

Adrian M. Tamayo

I HAD quite a good talk with my sister Sheela Mae who just arrived from Indonesia over the weekend. She married a French businessman she met in Bali while working as a human resource officer. Her husband, Thomas Colbert, was the operations head of a big hotel in Indonesia.

Anyway, the topic we had was the potential of Mindanao.

We talked about the similarities between Mindanao and Indonesia. Indonesia also possesses multiple potentials and is even harnessed by the natural resources the country is gifted with.

Like Mindanao, the people are friendly and warm, making places like Bali a natural attraction to Australians and other nationalities from Europe and Americas.

She is saying that any investors’ first attraction is their ability to understand the advantage of the place.

It made me think about the many potentials that Mindanao is bestowed with.

Mindanao is home to 25.6 million. This is a massive market for commodity products. In the macro context, any economy is hugely driven by consumption, and Mindanao is just any trader’s dream of a market to sell products and provide services.

The labor force of Mindanao is 11 million, which is 23% of the country’s labor force. Mindanao’s workers are in the so-called sweet spot of labor, which means that they are at their prime age, are competent, and can achieve optimal production given opportunity.

Mindanao’s fertile land is also another advantage. The climatic and topographic features of the island make it a quick reference for producing high-value crops that meet global requirements.

Then she said that one strong driver of Indonesia’s economy is its power sector. Electricity is cheap in Indonesia. It allowed them to develop manufacturing industries that process goods into final value domestically.

With cheap electricity used for production and manufacturing, added cost does not burden the final cost value, making products attractive when sold in the global market.  

So power development is a crucial ingredient in the overall deployment of development strategies. MinDA is on top of this initiative, co-chairing with the Department of Energy, the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC).

The strategic roll-out is to achieve a regime of reliable, dependable, and affordable energy espousing a balanced energy mix to support Mindanao’s growth. Last week, MinDA hosted a capacity building for the Mindanao LGUs for a renewable energy project for Mindanao. Twenty-three LGUs from Davao, Zamboanga Peninsula and BARMM joined the event.

MinDA aims to provide electricity to the 1.2 million remote households across Mindanao that continue to suffer from a lack of electricity. It is accepted that any place without electricity is beset with an abject lack of opportunities. 

And MinDA is on it in catching up with our BIMP-EAGA neighbors.

Adrian Tamayo is the head of the Public Relations of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA). He teaches economics at the Graduate School of the University of Mindanao and is currently on a scholarship grant for a Master of Public Safety Administration (MPSA) at the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC).


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