Senator (and rumored presidentiable) Francis “Chiz” Escudero has said it and I agree — the peace and development here in Mindanao is hostaged to politics. The kind of politics that run in “Imperial Manila.”
One of the things that the next president should do is bring together all stakeholders in Mindanao to craft a development agenda — one that’s doable, cost efficient and worth all of our time and efforts — that will not be hostaged to any change in administration.
“Only an all-stakeholders approach will lead to the long-sought peace and meaningful development in this region, not Imperial Manila’s “urong-sulong, atras abante” approach since we gained independence,” Escudero said.
The 39-year old lawmaker said the country’s development will greatly be accelerated if authority is devolved to the lowest level of government.
He said that regions and provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays should be able to act on their problems without waiting for Malacañang’s imprimatur.
To achieve this, Escudero stressed the need for the next administration to increase the share of local governments in the internal revenue collections from 40 to 60 percent in the next six years.
The latest National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) figures show that the contribution of Mindanao to the country’s overall output is roughly 17.7% compared to the budgetary allocation of only 11 to 14% being given by the government to the region.
Can you imagine that? Mindanao is one big contributor and yet we’re often disregarded or forgotten when it comes to budgetary allocations!
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?