#MINDANAO: Thinking big for Mindanao

Published December 6, 2021, 9:18 AM

by John Tria

Reflecting on the country’s recent 7.1% 3rd quarter growth, ideas urgently consolidate on how to make the Mindanao economy more resilient, or to keep growing despite climate and health related disruptions.

With recent economic reforms passed and hopefully, more to come, it’s time to think big for Mindanao, to supercharge its “promise”. By building a strong Mindanao economy by attracting manufacturing investments, we as a nation can produce a bigger portion of the products we consume, and employ and provide income for more in the process. Doing so will allow us to live our lives well despite these disruptions. This also creates more countryside economic opportunities for the people.

We must act now, to advocate for policies that will promote more investment and help each other partake of this great interest in the islands potentials to be a big player in global trading system that is constantly evolving, adapting and changing.

What can be done?

Local business groups within Mindanao must band together and promote shared advocacies such as business promotion and encourage local businesses to export outside their territories. With digital marketing and financing platforms this can be done, as it is already done by so many small businesses in major cities, selling their produce, food items through such channels.

The task is to expand their reach through more networking.

Continue building infrastructure that makes transport and logistics easier and cheaper. A reform worth pushing is the amended public service act will allow more competition in the logistics sector and promote lower costs for the transport of goods from Mindanao. This will benefit producers in Mindanao, making it competitive for them to ship fruits and produce like pork to Manilas markets.

Let us take advantage of the reforms of recent years, the CREATE Law, the Innovation act, the startup law, and personal property security act and the ease of doing business law- all of these in my view are meant to boost the competitiveness of the MSME sector that we love, and whose growth we have and will continue to work for. It will be our collective task to assert that these reforms are implemented over the next ten years.

Let us also optimize recent reforms that promote technology in agribusiness. The task of our food sector is to ensure adequate and affordable supply of food so that inflation will remain at manageable levels, so that majority will eat properly. This will mean implementing further reforms that mechanize and consolidate food growing to let our farms to reach economies of scale and be cost competitive when compared to other countries. Moreover, lets promote more processing of these products so that more people around the world can partake of the things we produce. The same goes for our minerals and forestry sector, that can generate income for many in Mindanao’s hinterlands.

Thus, more than at any other time in history must we build a Mindanao economy worthy of our forebears’ dreams and aspirations, a strong inclusive and sustainable local economy our children deserve- upon which they can abundantly feed, clothe, learn, earn and enjoy life that the creator deemed fruitful upon which their own dreams, visions and missions will be both grounded and built. For they, and their children also have a future they will face. We must give them the best opportunity to be strong to face it.

Stay safe!