MANILA – Senator Robin Padilla on Wednesday moved for the increase of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) budget, saying this will be a key to lasting peace in the region.
Padilla also urged the government to pour enough funds to support the airport project in the Municipality of M’lang, North Cotabato which was in limbo for the past 15 years.
“Sayang yan. Maganda yan sana sa Central Mindanao. Ang progresibong lugar talagang may airport, seaport. Hanggang wala po yan, sayang ang 15 years (It would be a waste. The airport would have been good for Central Mindanao. Progressive places have airports and seaports. Without these, the last 15 years would have been for nothing)," he said in a news release.
Padilla also noted that based on the proposed budget of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Luzon got a big share, followed by the Visayas.
“Malapit sa amin ang Mindanao. Para sa amin, pag nakikita namin ang budget, kasi pinakita po sa amin ang budget ng DBM. Ang laki sa Luzon, tapos pagdating sa Visayas, malaki rin. Pero pagdating sa Mindanao, medyo maliit pa rin. Medyo may kalungkutan po doon pagdating sa punto na yan (Mindanao is close to us. We have seen the proposed budgets for Luzon and Visayas, and they are considerable. But for Mindanao, the budget is quite small. This is very sad)," said Padilla, after learning of a budget cut for MinDA for next year)," he said.
For 2023, the National Expenditure Program allotted PHP158.958 million for MinDA, which is PHP197.27 million lower than the agency's budget of PHP38.312 million this year.
As such, some PHP306.642 million in projects may go unfunded, including:
* Mindanao digital innovations program - PHP18.98 million;
* Expanded Mindanao economic recovery program - PHP20.977 million;
* Mindanao River Basins Food-Energy-Water nexus program - PHP12.390 million; and the
* Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Heritage Preservation and Development Support Program PHP10 million.
"Sabi nyo nga, napakahalaga ng kapayapaan. At alam natin ang ugat ng lahat ng kaguluhan ang dapat maging pantay-pantay ang development (As you said, peace is very important. And we know the key to peace is to address the cause of chaos by ensuring equitable development)," he told MinDA Chairperson Ma. Belen Acosta.
Padilla said while he and finance subcommittee chairman Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa will find ways to increase MinDA's budget, the agency's officials must also make representations with the Department of Budget and Management. (With report from Leonel Abasola/PNA)