The Department of Finance on Thursday vowed to support the Mindanao Development Authority in its mission to bolster economic growth and development in Mindanao by facilitating investments in infrastructure during the Mindanao Development Forum 2023 held on May 18 in Davao City.
“[T]he Department of Finance stands ready to support the Mindanao Development Authority by strengthening its relationship with bilateral and multilateral development partners. We are continuously working with international development partners on priority programs and projects in key sectors in Mindanao,” Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in his pre-recorded keynote message.
Diokno said the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is determined to “turn the Land of Promise into an economic powerhouse” by boosting infrastructure and transportation on the island, which are crucial to increasing connectivity with surrounding regions.
“The idea is to link and integrate markets, connect urban centers to rural areas, and facilitate the movement of people and goods to expand access to more opportunities for local industries. Ultimately, this will boost productivity,” Diokno said.
The government committed to sustaining annual infrastructure spending at 5 to 6 percent of gross domestic product, aligned with the National Economic and Development Authority’s Public Investment Program 2023 to 2028.
The PIP is a programming document containing the priority programs and projects to be implemented within the medium-term. It contains 3,770 infrastructure PAPs––1,310 of which are located in Mindanao amounting to P1.2 trillion.
It said 30 of the 194 high-impact Infrastructure Flagship Projects approved by the NEDA board are intended to directly support investments in Mindanao.
These include the Mindanao Railway Project, Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project, Cagayan de Oro Coastal Road, Davao City Expressway, and preparation for New Zamboanga Airport, Bukidnon Airport, and New Siargao Sayak Airport.
Diokno said the projects would adopt an optimal mix of financing from various development partners through official development assistance, general appropriations of the national government and public-private partnerships.
Preliminary data from NEDA showed that there are 97 active or ongoing ODA-loan and grant funded projects and programs being implemented in Mindanao as of end-December 2022. On top of these, there are 35 ongoing projects with total loan and grant commitments of $4.2 billion from bilateral and multilateral development partners.
The DOF also expressed commitment to assisting MinDA in its implementation of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area Vision 2025 to make Mindanao a key economic driver in the sub-region.
MinDA serves as the Philippine Coordinating Office of BIMP-EAGA––an initiative that aims to increase trade, tourism, and investments in the subregion.