DAVAO CITY (17 September 2020) – Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Abdulghani ‘Gerry’ Ajul Salapuddin has urged Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza to call for a Mindanao-wide leaders’ summit to purposely craft a socio-economic development framework in Mindanao that is doable and sustainable that will serve as a guide among the leaders in the country’s second largest island.
Salapuddin has emphasized this call in partnership with the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), SPDA, and PEZA during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SPDA and PEZA Thursday in Davao City which signaled an enabling framework for the creation of economic zones in Mindanao obviously designed to facilitate, promote, and accelerate the economic development in the island.
Extremely hopeful that this time Mindanao will not be the ‘Land of Promise’ anymore, Salapuddin has expressed optimism that with the creation of the socio-economic development framework for Mindanao, “this land of promise will already be the land of fulfillment and opportunities”, he said.
During his short talk prior to the signing of the MOU, Salapuddin failed to hide his frustrations over the government’s seeming unbalanced distribution of wealth in the country as Southern Philippines is left behind as regards the implementation of the mega projects that seem to be only mushrooming in Luzon and Visayas regions.
“I have been travelling all around Mindanao and unfortunately, there has been no visible mega projects in this part of the country as compared to Manila and Visayas”, he disclosed.
However, he added, with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who hails from Mindanao at the helm of power, this plan would push through not only in the highly urbanized cities but this time, every province, and municipality will have an economic zone and that no one will be left behind.
With this development, the influx of immigrants is expected to see action with a lot of opportunities for livelihood. However, Salapuddin cautioned everyone that there must be sufficient provision of infrastructures and facilities to attract more investors in the countryside. (Celestino B. Siglos, Ed.D.)