THE World Bank, in partnership with Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and two others, has developed a strategy for Northern Mindanao on how to accelerate development in the region.
"In a long-run, progress in the entire country depends on growth and development in Mindanao, in which Northern Mindanao is going to play an important role," Dr. Birgit Hansl of World Bank said.
Noticing the Mindanao's potential to speed up poverty reduction and promote prosperity for all, World Bank, together with MinDA, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), was able to create a strategy to accelerate development in the region while paying special attention to the poorest and most vulnerable areas.
"We reflected on the Mindanao's job support on the collective wisdom and knowledge of Mindanao's leaders and stakeholders and supported it with an analysis that was annotated together with local universities and think tanks in Mindanao," Hansl said.
World Bank, MinDA, PCCI and PBSP has also discussed some initiatives that can further enhance the growth of business in the Northern Mindanao and the entire Mindanao, something that will be crucial to generate more quality jobs, thus, reduce poverty in the country.
The result was the Philippines Mindanao Jobs Report: A Strategy of Regional Development, the unlocking of Mindanao's potential as a crucial key to bring down poverty in the Philippines.
Hansl also identified the three key areas to unlock Mindanao's potential:
- Raising the productivity of Mindanao's farm and fisheries sector and improving its connectivity and access to local and global markets;
- Investing in health, education, skills training, and social protection for the poor; and
- Addressing the drivers of conflict and strengthening situations in conflict-affected areas.
"We believe that if we all work together, the government, the private sectors, civil society and development partners, Mindanao's potential today can be unlocked for a more vibrant Mindanao tomorrow, that all Filipinos have a chance for a better life," Hansl said.
Northern Mindanao is also part of the larger Mindanao Development Corridors, a key spatial strategy adopted by MinDA.
"We are primarily eyeing the Mindanao Development Corridors as a mechanism to archive an integrated and globally-competitive Mindanao, and Northern Mindanao can truly be our logistics hub as it hosts the Laguindingan Airport and the Mindanao Integrated Container Terminal (MICT)," MinDA Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto said.
The corridors strategy aims to improve infrastructure, establish connectivity, and spur the development of growth clusters within the island-region.
"Improved skills of the labor face, better power supply, simplified business regulations, and lower cost for starting and operating a business are important to further enhance the growth prospects of the region and the entire Mindanao," Mara Warwick, country director for Brunie, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, adding that higher internet connectivity could promote not only job growth.
The Philippine Business for Social Progress, for their part, has stressed out its commitment to Mindanao.
"PBSP and the businesses that support us will continue to put its resources and its heart and mind into this region," Dr. Birgit Hansl of World Bank said.