DAVAO CITY – It is still business as usual for the Asian Development Bank in the wake of the Mamasapano incident, as 16 of its representatives visited Davao City recently to meet with the Mindanao Development Authority for its ongoing projects.
The delegation comprising of 16 board members and advisors met MinDA chair Lualhati Antoninio to familiarize on various sectoral projects it has funded, the MinDA press release said.
Among the projects it funded include a US $1.4 million (approximately 60 million pesos) technical assistance for the improvement of national roads in Mindanao and a tourism development project.
The bank officials also heard briefings on the participation in the Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippine East ASEAN (BIMP-EAG) Growth Area and on the Bangsamoro Development Plan presented by the Bangsamoro Development Authority.
This meeting was described by Guadencio Hernandez Jr., ADB alternate executive director, as “excellent opportunity for us to learn more about Mindanao, especially for my colleagues in the ADB board of directors who are relatively new to the country.”
The ADB fund for the national road development is part of the Philippine Development Plan that is nearing its end in 2016. The project intends to align existing networks in Mindanao especially in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which is expected to be in transition to the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region later this year, as part of the peace agreement between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
MinDA said the ADB visit shows confidence that business will continue in Mindanao.
“This high-level visit of ADB executives to Mindanao is not only a manifestation of their interest to support the region’s socioeconomic initiatives, but also sends a strong message that Mindanao is safe, and that it will continue to pursue development despite the odds that the region is currently facing,” said MinDA Chair Lualhati Antonino.
While MinDA expressed confidence with continuing aid and investments, the economic think-tank Ibon Foundation warned of ADB’s record of pushing for mining liberalization that is now opposed by church leaders and environment groups. They also raised concern on government’s push for growth centers which they said had been proven to be short-lived in other regions.(davaotoday.com)