VPSD Speech for Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) 13th Founding Anniversary, Acacia Hotel, Davao City
Event Date and Time: February 16, 2023, from 3:50 to 5:00 pm
[STANDARD GREETINGS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GUESTS]
Madayaw ug mayong hapon sa inyong tanan.
Congratulations to the Mindanao Development Authority on your 13th Founding Anniversary.
I am truly proud and honored to be part of this milestone as you celebrate the socio-economic gains of your mission.
And it’s a mission that meant putting Mindanao in the forefront — to accelerate our inclusive progress and facilitate sub-regional economic cooperation with our neighbors in the Southeast Asian region.
I said I am proud and honored to be part of this milestone. And this comes from a place called home.
I am proud and honored because I am a Dabawenya. And because I am a Mindanawon.
For all that it represents, for all that it has accomplished over the past 13 years, and for all that it has built, it is building, and will be building in the coming years — MinDa has constantly stayed the course.
And I believe we owe it to those who fought long and hard for the national government to make Mindanao a national agenda.
MinDa, as an institution, is an acknowledgment that Mindanao is more than a stage for deadly wars, a breeding ground for terrorist groups, a place where bombs explode and kill hapless civilians, an island of discontent, rebellion, and constant power outages despite being a host to hydropower plants.
That we are lagging behind while the rest of the country is seeing accelerated development and growth is already history.
It’s a tale of the past — and although true, it’s a tale that should be assigned into our collective memory as a nation.
Instead, we should look at MinDA and celebrate all the 13 years that the institution and its outstanding, dedicated, and hardworking people gloriously devoted to changing the landscape of Mindanao.
I feel that providing a space, a table, in the Office of the Vice President is not enough to support the Mindanao Development Authority. I always said that if there are big ticket projects coming from Mindanao, from across the regions, I always remind them to let us know — the Office of the Vice President — so that we can help push the agenda, the projects on the national stage.
For the past 13 years, MinDa has remained consistent with its holistic and integrated approach to achieving a culturally diverse and progressive region.
MinDa inherited this from its mother — the Mindanao Economic Development Council or MEDCo — established in 1992.
Just like MEDCO, its mother, MinDa is a witness to how the people of Mindanao had to live in constant fear, bloodshed, displacement, and instability because of armed conflicts, rebellion, and terror attacks.
And just like its mother, MinDa and the people behind it strongly, and maybe stubbornly, held their ground, persistent, and resolute to build Mindanao as an island of peace and an island with immense potential for growth and development.
There were times when bombs were exploding in some parts of Mindanao and communities have turned into ghost towns — and yet, MEDCO people, and then later, MinDa people, were talking nonstop about Mindanao being an investment hub for the BIMP EAGA Region.
Mindanao. Investment hub. It has become their mantra, and it should become our mantra as Mindanawons.
And of course, thirteen years after President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Republic Act 9996 in 2010 mandating the creation of the Mindanao Development Authority, we could say that we have made it, that Mindanao made it, that Mindanawons have made it.
Today, we celebrate having a reliable agency responsible for promoting inclusive socio-economic growth through the participation of our partners in the private sector and civil society.
Over the years, you have fostered equitable development efforts and demonstrated our shared ideals of good governance and strong leadership.
This opened the gateways for sustainable peace and advancement of the people of the island.
MinDa has successfully placed Mindanao on the map of commerce, of business, of trade, of development.
It forged partnerships with various groups and sectors within the BIMP-EAGA region — with Mindanao as its prized asset.
You were instrumental in the sustained partnerships between Mindanao and its ASEAN neighbors through collaborations with various foreign chambers, trade and agricultural attachés, and counterpart investment promotion offices within BIMP-EAGA and ASEAN.
In war-affected parts of Mindanao, MinDa has devoted its energy to programs and projects across the areas of infrastructure development, peacebuilding, and research and development in partnership with higher education institutions.
It is truly laudable — the way MinDa serves as the government’s arm in extending comprehensive development plans and investment programs that drive Mindanao’s rural and urban development.
Your recent initiative to gather stakeholders to strengthen urban water systems for enhanced disaster resilience in Mindanao is truly commendable.
This is an important step in ensuring better water management programs for the benefit of our local communities.
I am also pleased to know that you have successfully forged a wider network of public and private sector partnerships toward improved mitigation measures for flooding within the areas adjacent to the Mindanao River Basin.
Your collaboration with local government units, national line agencies, and other civic organizations in strengthening our critical river basins will help Mindanawons prepare for the increased frequency and intensity of storms, floods, and landslides.
I would say, MinDA is an institution that specializes in everything that matters to our lives as Mindanawons not only today but most importantly, in the coming years.
On this note, let me enjoin you in our continuing advocacy for youth empowerment through quality academic training and peace education to counter the narratives of violent extremism and terrorism and fight against drug addiction.
Let this be our own ‘stubborn’ advocacy and campaign as peace and nation-builders who truly believe in the potential of the Mindanawon youth as catalysts of transformative development in the region.
Again, my heartfelt congratulations to the Mindanao Development Authority for marking another productive year of sustainable growth.
We have more work to do in our quest for lasting and inclusive development but with your unceasing and impassioned efforts, I am optimistic that we can accelerate Mindanao’s emergence as a powerhouse economy.
Let us work together to cultivate a thriving and resilient island region leveraging our cultural and filial connections with BIMP-EAGA and ASEAN neighbors.
Lahat po ng ginagawa natin – para sa Diyos, sa bayan, at sa bawat pamilyang Pilipino. Shukran.