Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel lll on Sunday vowed to support the administration’s development roadmap that includes reforms and seeks to reduce poverty while creating more jobs via regional expansion.
Pimentel said the proposed Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 of the National Economic Development Authority will get the needed legislative boost from the Senate.
“It concretizes the Duterte administration’s eight-point economic agenda and its long-term AmBisyon Natin 2040 into strategies as well as specific programs and activities implementing new policies,” Pimentel said.
Although Neda is still awaiting feedback and inputs from the public before coming up with its final version of the PDP 2017-2022, the Plan puts emphasis on the development of regional centers, including Cagayan de Oro City.
The new impetus for regional growth is set to make Cagayan de Oro the country’s fourth economic center, and the second in Mindanao, after Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.
“I will strongly and actively support this plan of building a Metro Cagayan de Oro [CDO]all the way,” Pimentel said.
He said the economic development plan could not have come at a better time as Congress prepares to tackle the proposed shift in the form of government to a Federal System.
Pimentel said he would make the approval of this shift a top priority since it dovetails with President Duterte’s program to spread government resources to the regions and countryside.
A federal setup will decentralize the current centralized system and would go a long way in accelerating the President’s development plan that empowers the regions with greater autonomy and more resources, he said.
Pimentel said he is “happy that Cagayan de Oro, his hometown, would soon reach its potential as one of the country’s top economic centers.”
The Neda plan, he said, is in line with “our strategy of building an economic powerhouse in Northern Mindanao.”
It would also tie up, Pimentel said, with the proposed Mindanao Railway that could enhance CDO’s economic growth. The railway, as well as new roads and other infrastructure, would reduce the cost of travel and transport of goods throughout the island.
“Mindanao’s promise would finally be realized as major investors would flock to take advantage of the bullish economy,” he said.
Popularly known as the “City of Golden Friendship,” Cagayan de Oro’s strategic location has made it a major gateway and transhipment hub in Northern Mindanao.
With a population of 600,000, CDO is also a key educational center, a business process outsourcing hub and home to shopping malls.