The promise of Mindanao is now within reach
The promise of Mindanao is now two steps closer to coming into fruition with the Senate's passage on third reading of the measure creating the Mindanao Economic Development Authority (MEDA), Senator Richard J. Gordon said today.
Gordon, a co-author of Senate Bill 3496 (MEDA Act of 2009), said that the MEDA would primarily carry out economic and social reforms in Mindanao to ensure the growth and development that the island deserves.
"Whenever I go to Mindanao I see the possibilities that are boundless not only in tourism, not only in agriculture, but also in industrial development. We have had a long, festering problem in Mindanao, particularly in the areas of Sulu and Basilan. Mindanao has got to be developed immediately if only to stop the war out there," he said.
On Monday, the senators passed the MEDA bill on third reading. Senators and Congressmen will iron out differences in their respective versions of the bill in a bicameral conference before it is forwarded to the Office of the President for signing into law. The President has certified the measure for immediate enactment.
Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana, Sr., Chairman of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo), said that the passage of the MEDA bill is a historic legacy by both Houses of Congress in terms of providing Mindanao a special strategic mechanism that is responsible and accountable for the socio-economic development of the island.
"It will accelerate the attainment of development and peace in Mindanao. It will likewise reinforce the national effort to consolidate the whole country into one strong nation, which can never be attained by exclusion of any religion, race or tribe," Leyretana said.
"In behalf of the officers of MEDCo, we express our sincerest gratitude to the senators and congressmen for the unanimous approval of the MEDA bill," he added. Gordon explained that the MEDA would be the implementing agency for Mindanao-specific inter-regional and Mindanao-wide programs and projects, including Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects. It would promote, coordinate, and facilitate the participation of all sectors towards the socio-economic development of Mindanao.
"I know that there are certain elements in Mindanao that will never be pacified, but there are more people who want to conquer the lower instincts in man to make sure that Filipinos, whether they be Muslims or Christians, are uplifted," Gordon said.