THE House committee on Mindanao affairs, chaired by Cagayan de Oro City second district Representative Maximo Rodriguez Jr., is seeking for a budget increase for Mindanao for the coming years.

In a press conference on Wednesday, March 21, Rodriguez told the media that only 16.2 percent or P608 billion of the P3.7-million national budget in 2018 was allotted for Mindanao.

Below are the departments that gave Mindanao a "very low" budget, according to Rodriguez.

  • Department of Transportation -- 1.62 percent
  • Department Information and Communications Technology -- 1.65 percent
  • Department of Tourism -- 3 percent
  • Department of Interior and Local Government -- 3.02 percent
  • Department of Labor and Employment -- 10.35 percent
  • Department of Health -- 10. 42 percent
  • Department of Science and Technology -- 11.36 percent
  • Department of Trade and Industry -- 13.03 percent
  • Department of Agriculture -- 17.36 percent

From 16.2 percent, Rodriguez said the committee on Mindanao affairs will be asking for a four percent increase or 20 percent of the national budget.

That would amount to more or less P1.25 trillion, Rodriguez said.

For the years 2014 up to 2017, Mindanao only got 12.28 percent from the country's budget.

"It is our appeal to all our departments that Mindanao should receive its fair and equitable share of the national budget due to the 40 percent poverty incidence, the highest in the country; a growing population of 26 million which is one fourth of the Philippine population," Rodriguez said.

Last March 13, the committee on Mindanao affairs created eight technical working groups (TWGs) to be chaired by representatives from Mindanao. These TWGs will start meeting various department secretaries during the recess to discuss how can the government increase the budget for the Southern region.

"It is our target that Mindanao should get at least for the next four to five years P1.25 trillion so that we can comfortably say that the people in Mindanao are given a fair and equitable share," Rodriguez said. (SunStar Philippines)