Press Release
May 27, 2010


Sen. Edgardo J. Angara today urged the incoming administration to give more focus on peace and order and socio-eco-political development in Mindanao and tap the region's vast human and natural resources.

"In the past administrations, focus of development in Mindanao was more on what it can offer and less on what its people can get. Over the past century there was no permanent mechanism to look after the affairs of Mindanao," said Angara. He added that it is about time that we take care of the region not only in terms of peace and order issues; manpower and natural resources of the region has so much potential for them to spur further progress for the region.

He called for immediate enforcement of the MinDA (Mindanao Development Authority) law and to expedite progress of peace talks with insurgent groups. Angara reminded the incoming officials that the government has the Constitutional duty to "protect the rights, recognize the aspirations, and promote the welfare and development of our Muslim brothers."

Angara, author of the MinDA law previously known as the MEDA (Mindanao Economic Development Authority) bill, reassured that "the Philippine government has always been and will be more serious in pursuing peace and development and welfare for the Muslims in Mindanao."

This was also the message of officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) at the recent meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) foreign ministers in Tajikistan.

Angara lamented that Mindanao has degenerated into a compromised land torn by conflict and poverty, lagging behind the rest of the country and suffering from intermittent peace and order problems further widening the economic and social divide between and among the peoples of the region.

Based on figures from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), Mindanao, the country's second largest mainland space, is still the poorest of the three island groups in the country, with the highest poverty incidence among the country's major island groups. Its poverty incidence reached 38.8% compared to lower poverty incidence rates in Luzon (20%) and the Visayas (33%).

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