(COTABATO CITY) President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday (October 29) promised to “pour” funds in Mindanao to usher growth and development in the region.
“You will have a share of the national wealth. Sinabi ko sa inyo na bubuhusan ko ng pera ang mga Moro region,” President Duterte said in his speech during the launching of the Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and other conflict areas in the region.
The President said he has ordered Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo to focus on programs and projects that will help the Muslim communities especially on poverty alleviation noting high incidence of hunger in Mindanao based on statistical reports.
“I want the incidence of hunger stopped. Kawawa ang mga bata. We have to do something about it,” he said. Prior to giving his speech, Duterte also led the ceremonial distribution of government assistance to several malnourished children and their families.
“Ako na po ang nagsasabi, bigyan ninyo ako ng kaunting panahon. I will improve the Moro land, Mindanao,” he said followed by loud cheers and applause from the crowd.
ARMM, which consists of provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, is considered one of the poorest regions in the country.
It is beset with problems such as terrorism particularly perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), who is responsible for various heinous acts such as bombings, kidnappings and beheadings of foreigners.
Duterte vowed to eliminate the ASG and maintain peace and order to encourage more investors to enter in the region.
The President also reiterated his appeal to Moros and other communist rebels to stop waging war against government troops.
Being the first President who hails from Mindanao, Duterte vowed to develop the region to its “fullest extent” noting that it could become the richest due to its abundant natural resources.
He said Mindanao “holds a promise in agriculture.”
The President pledged to provide equipment such as tractors and seeds to the farmers to help them in their livelihood. He likewise vowed to give boats to fisherfolk.
He also mentioned of a possible donation from a businessman amounting to P1 billion for the construction of a hospital in Basilan.
The President again underscored the need to shift to federalism type of government believing that it will pave way for the country’s economic growth and development especially in Mindanao.PND