DAVAO CITY August 19 (PIA) Former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol formally assumes as chair of the Mindanao Development Authority, for a period of six years aimed at expediting the development in Mindanao where eight of its provinces are classified as the poorest in the country.
He took the reins of the MINDA with the presence of foreign dignitaries and local officials from elsewhere in Mindanao, local businessmen, Moro and Lumad leaders, three months after it was run by Atty. Neil Dalumpines as its officer-in-charge following the death of Abu Kair Alonto, the former chair.
Pinol admitted he is still studying the MINDA charter, though he is not new to development concerns being a governor of North Cotabato for three terms where he cooperated the crafting the plan for Mindanao Development.
He thanked his predecessors in the MINDA for what he called lofty projects designed to spur development.
Pinol said government must ensure the sustainability of all projects from the building of the Mindanao railway system, free-port and solar energy project in Tawi-tawi to the export of green coconut and quality premium rice to China and New Guinea, respectively, operationalization of the barter trading and the partnership with the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asian Growth Area.
He said learning from the lessons of the Bitung-Davao shipping project which was stopped due to the lack of import-export goods, all government projects must be planned carefully with feasibility study on how to guarantee its sustainability.
Pinol said building railways must ensure the transport of goods to the right destination, while building a port must ensure the barter of quality goods.
"We must dream big, but these dreams must be anchored on strong foundations," Pinol stressed.
He said that in the pursuit of a continuing chapter to realize Mindanao's full potential, there is a need to go back to the basic approach like a review of the members of the MINDA board, like political leaders, businessmen, members of the academe and civil society organizations.
Pinol said the Bangsamoro and the tribal groups must be represented in the board. "This also their board," he said.
Pinol said the MINDA needs also to look into peace, productivity and addressing chronic poverty as factors in realizing real development in Mindanao.
He stressed that MINDA must take an active role in ensuring that the gains of peace must be felt by the people of Mindanao today and the next generation.
Pinol also underscored the need to address poverty besetting eight provinces in Mindanao, which are classified as part of the ten poorest provinces in the country.
"At the end of the day, the sustainability of peace in the Bangsamoro Region, will all depend on how fast and effective, we deliver the commitments made by government," he stressed. (PIA XI-Joey Sem G. Dalumpines)