Press Release
September 15, 2009

Zubiri appeases Mindanao Business Council
Development programs will push through in the Southern Philippines

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri today appeased the Mindanao Business Council (MinBC) saying the Senate leadership will not abandon its commitment to pursue development programs in Mindanao.

"I would like to reiterate that we, at the Senate are doing the best that we can to address each and every concern of our people, especially the people in Mindanao. I, alone, have filed several measures seeking to improve handling of plight of Mindanaoans," he said.

The Majority Leader also committed that while the peace accord between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) remains stalled, the senators are looking at the condition of Mindanao properly and considerably.

MinBC chairman Vicente Lao earlier expressed wary that priority developments in Mindanao might take a back seat due to the coming May 2010 elections.

Zubiri said the MinBC need not have to worry because Mindanao is always in the list of priorities not only of the Senate but also of the government.

He added that as early as April this year, he had met with Muslim leaders and assemblyman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and discussed with them the challenges for peace and development in the southern region.

He likewise, said, that as a proof to his commitment to further develop the southern region, he has allocated at least P274 million from his priority fund from 2007 to present.

The senator also extolled the resilient economy exhibited by Mindanao for the last three years due to the influx of investments in the region.

Lao said Mindanao should be credited because 17.68 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product came from the region's Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP). Mindanao GRDP grew by 7.2 percent in 2007 from 5.2 percent in 2006.

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