|MinDA, PCCI Jointly Hold Consultations in Preparation for the 21st MinBizCon|
ZAMBOANGA CITY—The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development through its Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), are holding consultation meetings to identify the pressing issues affecting Mindanao’s economic competitiveness.
USAID through the GEM Program provides assistance to business support organizations to help them implement development strategies that will improve the competitiveness of major industries in Mindanao.
The broad-based regional consultations were scheduled to take place in Zamboanga City on April 18 covering the areas of western Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM); Cagayan de Oro on April 24 for northern and eastern Mindanao; and General Santos City on May 8 for central and southern Mindanao.
“These consultations are part of our continuing efforts in policy modification and advocacy to ensure that Mindanao imperatives in key sectors are addressed by the national government,” said Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
Participants will include representatives from chambers of commerce, national government agencies, industry and trade associations, and academic institutions.
Issues pertaining to the power, agriculture, mining and transport sectors dominated last year’s discussions.
“PCCI local chambers nationwide, through our regional governors and area vice presidents, provide our national board with inputs with which to formulate national policy positions,” said PCCI Secretary-General Crisanto Frianeza.
“The Mindanao chambers are privileged to have an able partner in MinDA,” Frianeza said. “When the chambers come up with policy recommendations, MinDA assists not only in facilitating discussions but in providing inputs on how these recommendations can be refined.”
He added: “More importantly, the chambers and the government, through MinDA, readily find common ground and are able to push together for these recommendations.”
“We are working closely with PCCI in pushing for Mindanao-specific policies to create an environment conducive to business growth,” said Secretary Antonino. “We recognize the critical role played by the private sector in addressing our peace and development imperatives in the region.”
MinDA and PCCI will consolidate the results of this year’s consultations and use these to formulate the initial draft of a policy agenda for Mindanao.
MinDA will provide the draft policy agenda by early June to concerned Cabinet secretaries, for them to review with their departments.
The draft will be refined further at high-level roundtable discussions that will serve as a prelude to the 21th Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon), which will be held on August 2-4 in Butuan City.
The event will allow cabinet officials and the private sector to focus together on specific issues and bottlenecks affecting Mindanao’s competitiveness, and to develop appropriate commitments from government agencies, the business community and other stakeholders.
“Development, in any area, requires a private-public partnership,” Frianeza said.
The final draft of the Mindanao Business Policy Agenda will be presented to President Benigno Aquino III at the 21st MinBizCon.
Published in Gold Star Daily, April 24, 2012; Sun Star Cagayan, April 23, 2012; Business Week, April 23, 2012; Daily Zamboanga Times, April 21, 2012; Zamboanga Times, April 22, 2012