ADB grants $100 million fund to Mindanao Development Corridors

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) gave $100-million worth of funds to the Mindanao Development Corridors strategy and its pilot sites south-central Mindanao area and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

According to Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Executive Director and Undersecretary Janet M. Lopoz, the funds will “complement our efforts to attract and retain more inclusive investment in Mindanao.”

“When we embark on this administration’s agenda for Mindanao, we are looking at holistic and sustainable development with dimensions on peace and security, human development, governance, and social cohesion,” Lopoz furthered.

Lopoz also added that to achieve sustainable development, public investment in infrastructure, economic growth, and poverty reduction are essential factors to consider.

ADB Philippines Principal Country Specialist Joven Z. Balbosa, meanwhile, said that the $100-million worth of fund will be viable in addressing public investment gaps ”cutting across local government, across regions that really matter for growth.”

He added that ADB will help sustainable and consistent inter-regional programs that need larger investments.

“Right now, government agencies and local governments have different priority programs, but what the bank will do is come up with inter-regional mechanisms,” Balbosa explained.

ADB also mentioned that the funding “supports the government’s national spatial strategy, which recognizes the comparative advantages of cities and municipalities and seeks to address spatial and socioeconomic inequalities by linking lagging regions with economic growth centers.”

Lopoz said that the Development Corridors strategy will pave way to more government investments that will be intended to improve and build ports and airports.

Among the key projects include the development of the Polloc Port in the ARMM, the “aerotropolis” in the cities of Tagum and General Santos (GenSan), and the upgrading of the Davao International Airport (DIA).

According to Lopoz, the Polloc airport will be an efficient development as it will be the “major gateway in central Mindanao, providing transport and logistics support to the ARMM Regional Economic Zone.” She added that the said airport will also be the main gateway for the proposed Bangsamoro region.

The Tagum and General Santos aerotropolis, on the other hand, will serve as mixed-use facilities around airports that would address the growing air traffic to and from Mindanao.

“This is really all about bringing progress closer to the people, through the connectivity infrastructure. You see, if we want to invite more investors to Mindanao, then we also need to ensure that all the logistic and connectivity infrastructure are in place in order to make these investments stay and flourish,” Lopoz noted.

The government has also lined up projects for the improvement of other zones of the Corridors approach – the Northern Mindanao Development Corridor and the Western Mindanao Development Corridor.

The Laguindingan International Airport and the construction of the Panguil Bay Bridge in Northern Mindanao and the new Zamboanga International Airport in Western Mindanao projects are all set to commence, Lopoz shared.