By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Key officials and partners of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) on Sunday explained the multi-dimensional thrusts of the agency in the wake of some online posts by skeptics insinuating the recent transformation of the entity into an “extension” of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Under R.A. 9996, MinDA is the sole agency mandated to coordinate, harmonize and integrate projects and programs that accelerate the socio-economic development of Mindanao in achieving an inclusive growth for all constituents of the island region regardless of tribes and faiths, according to MinDa Communication and Media Relations Director Dr. Adrian M. Tamayo.
MinDA was established following the enactment on July 27, 2009 of its charter – Republic Act 9996.
He said that, under RA 9996, MinDA shall “recommend to and whenever necessary call upon proper agencies on the technical support, physical assistance, and generally, the level of priority to be accorded to agricultural, industrial, commercial, and infrastructure, environmental, and technological programs and projects (pertaining to Mindanao).”
“Since Mindanao is largely agricultural region, it is just appropriate to focus on agribusiness ventures,” Tamayo said, citing facts that many lands in Mindanao, especially in the Bangsamoro region, were less cultivated or were even idle.
Tamayo’s explanation was corroborated by officials of academic, banking and development institutions serving as partners in projects initiated by MinDa Chairperson Manny Piñol, who was a former secretary of the Department of Agriculture.
“It is coincidental that Sec. Piñol was once DA secretary and a farmer-resident of the once dormant town of Mlang in North Cotabato. But the coincidence augurs well in the glaring reality that our country, especially Mindanao is agricultural, and can achieve substantial growth via agricultural initiatives,” a professor of the Central Mindanao University (CMU) in Bukidnon told The Manila Bulletin.