DAVAO CITY, Philippines—An official of the Mindanao Development Authority appealed to the graduates of the Mindanao State University to remain confident and optimistic. This as the government starts rehabilitating the besieged city of Marawi.
Speaking before the 2, 000 graduates of MSU main campus last July 13, MinDa Chairman Datu Abul Khayr Alonto assured the new batch of Marawi graduates that the city will “rise stronger and better.”
“My dear graduates, use what you have learned from MSU to broaden your perspectives, to remain confident and optimistic in Mindanao, to be hopeful about its future and deeply committed to being an instrument of peace,” Alonto said in his commencement speech.
The MSU Marawi held its graduation ceremony at MSU Iligan Institute of Technology, following the siege that befell the city last May 23. It was also a first—for the institution to hold commencement rite outside of its main campus.
“What happened in Marawi 52 days ago, is unfortunately personal to all of us; for somehow, there are amongst us who must have lost their loved ones; a family member, a friend, colleague, classmate or teacher; and there are those who will never ever make it to march in this halls or witness this kind of event in their lives,” he added.
Despite the Marawi incident, Alonton, however noted, that “Mindanao still holds great potential to be the country’s frontline for economic growth owing to its rich, largely untapped natural resources and a competitive and literate labor force.”
“Throughout history, our darkest hours are always followed by our finest moments. We are at this point where time and circumstances accord us excellent opportunity to build a strong nation in Mindanao and dismantle the national divide,” Alonto said.
The MinDa chairman, who was a former vice mayor and mayor of Marawi City, further emphasized that there is a need to capture the historical dimensions of development in order to bring back lasting peace in Marawi and the rest of Mindanao.
To effect both structural and institutional reforms in Mindanao, Alonto cited the Duterte administration’s “commitment and determination” to bring in bright prospects for lasting peace and development in Mindanao and herald a turnaround for its future and the Bangsamoro people.”
Under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, MinDA works with all stakeholders to create an environment conducive for business growth.
According to Alonzo, they would collaborate in Mindanao to pursue better governance, financing access, reliable power, infrastructure and connectivity, as detailed in one major program called Mindanao Development Corridors that will include a Mindanao Bangsamoro Economic Corridor and the Tawi-Tawi Economic Zone and Freeport.
“We use this agenda to effectively leverage for better and reasonable budget allocation from the national government to fund priority road networks and bridge projects to connect Mindanao and provide direct access to poorer communities,” Alonto said. (davaotoday.com)