Press Release
July 25, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos idea of super-regions to pursue the countrys development may sound impressive to the ear but said this will be another unnecessary layer in the bureaucracy that could derail the implementation of major development programs in the countryside.

The super regions are not needed. There should only be one super region: the Republic of the Philippines. If you create super regions, you create another bureaucratic layer of government, another massive government expense, another source of red tape, another outlet for corrupt deals, he said.

The super regions would be another sieve through which the funds for the existing regions, provinces, cities, municipalities and barangay would be funneled. Aside from corrupt leakages of funds, there would be the inevitable delay that bureaucratic interventions invariably cause.

In her 6th state of the nation address (SONA), the President identified five super regions: the North Luzon Agro-Business Quadrangle, the Metro Luzon Urban Beltway, Central Philippines, Mindanao and the Cyber Corridor.

Pimentel said the President gave her SONA audience good soundbites by promising to implement major projects and boasting that the government is financially capable to pursue them.

The minority leader said that given the immense costs of the projects cited by the President, these are beyond the budgetary capacity of government and can be implemented only by borrowing from foreign and domestic lending institutions.

But as Manny Villar said, where will the money come from? Obviously, Gloria is caught in the web of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank thinking: borrow and borrow until you drop dead!

Besides, the more fundamental thing is that since Gloria has no credibility and she lacks legitimacy as President, the stories she told would fall under the category of tall tales that only the nave can believe.

Pimentel noted that the President glided over the needs of Mindanao in her SONA, and mentioned the islands fertile fields as good for agriculture and its seas for fishing.

But for all her rhetoric, she did not mention how agriculture and fisheries in Mindanao would be supported and promoted by the government, he said.

On Mindanaos infrastructure, Pimentel said Mrs. Arroyo failed to even mention that the construction of the Laguindingan International Airport should be started now. But he said the biggest omission in the SONA is the creation of the Mindanao Railway network or at least the start of its organization.

Indeed, these are the biggest boosters of Mindanaos economy and these are nowhere mentioned in the SONA.

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