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MinDA works for equitable share to help neglected areas catch up

THE MINDANAO Development Agency (MinDA) seeks to have an equitable distribution of foreign financial assistance on the island.

MinDA chair Sec. Maria Belen S. Acosta said during Wednesday’s Habi at Kape media forum that one of the goals of the Mindanao Development Forum is to let foreign investors know where to position their financial assistance in Mindanao.

“[What] we do not want to happen is that there would be places in Mindanao [where] there is so much [financial] assistance, and there would be places where there is none or very little,” she said.

Acosta also cited the low growth rate in some places, such as the BARMM and Caraga regions.

Taking the situation of Tawi-Tawi as an example, she said that although the municipality is rich in aquatic resources like seaweed and seafood, insufficient energy source hinders the raw materials from being processed. 

As a result, farmers are forced to sell their harvests to middlemen who will sell these to Cebu, where they will be processed. 

While farmers still earn from this, Acosta hoped these would be processed in Tawi-Tawi to generate added value.

“We want the aid to be exactly what the site, LGU, and the constituents need so that there would be a convergence and to integrate and harmonize,” she said.

She also mentioned that off-grid areas in Mindanao, such as Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, need more financial assistance for development. MinDA is pushing to help places that are falling behind in terms of development due to neglect.

At present, the European Union and other agencies, in coordination with MinDA, are helping these farmers develop using clean and renewable energy.

“MinDA will make sure all areas are given opportunities and development,” she said.

The 2nd Mindanao Development Forum will be held on May 18 at the Acacia Hotel.


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