President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to provide more funds in Mindanao to boost 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 Moro region,” Duterte said on Saturday in his speech during the launching of the Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and other conflict areas in the region.
Duterte has ordered Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo to focus on programs and projects that will help the Muslim communities fight poverty while noting the high incidence of hunger in Mindanao.
“I want the incidence of hunger stopped. Kawawa ang mga bata [I pity the children]. We have to do something about it,” he said.
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 [Just give me more time]. I will improve the Moro land, Mindanao,” he said.
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, 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 communist rebels to stop waging war on 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 mentioned the 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.
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