JUST about every Mindanaoan who has set his or her sight on development regards the presidency of former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as a window of vast opportunities that Mindanaoans must take advantage of, lest we gain nothing fromt he short six-year period of a Mindanaon president.
Given the possible candidates in the future, no one has the vision, wisdom, political astuteness, and quick action of Duterte, the standard that the Mindanaoan president has set. But here are a lot of well-financed, politically-trained wannabes in the two other island groups. Retaining the Mindanao advantage beyond Duterte's time may be difficult to replicate. Thus, it could easily be back to the back burners for us deep southerners, and back to becoming lowly suppliers. That will be said. Grab this opportunity and grab this fast.
It is thus with a real warm round of applause that we welcome the groundbreaking for the Hijo Estates yesterday in Tagum City, Hijo Estates is a 760-hectare master-planned township that goes beyond the townships we have become familiar with. The Hijo Estate township includes a 54-hectare international deep-sea port with an initial terminal capacity of 450,000 TEU expandable to 650,000; a town center for business, commercial and retail activities, as well as a satellite government center; 320-hectare leisure and tourism development estates; residential estates that will include a clubhouse, sports facilities, parks and open spaces, and biking and jogging paths, and; an ICT campus to accommodate business process outsourcing, contact centers, software and hardware design companies, animation and similar companies.
Having had the rare opportunity of listening to its Chief Executive Officer and President Rosanna Tuason-Fores and hearing her concept of inclusive and sustainable development, we can see how the Hijos Estate is designed to become in the near future. This is the type of development model that every investors must imbibe as the President is also calling for inclusive growth and development.
Mindanao has been left behind for a long time, not just in terms of infrastructure and development, but also in human resources development; in all ways, excluded from the growth that the oligarchs have enjoyed. We have been given a window. Let us all take advantage of it and make sure that we bring the benefits down to the least of our brothers. They have long deserved this, but have been denied. Open the window wide, and let us all behold the prospects and developments that is right here on our land.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on June 17, 2017.
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