Mega-Region Concept Excites Execs

Jun. 24, 2006

TAGUM CITY Clustering provinces into a mega-region enables one to support the other and could prove beneficial to Mindanao, officials said this week.

Davao del Norte Vice Governor Antonio Rafael Anthony del Rosario praised the plan of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to lump provinces and regions into mega- or supra-regions as an economic and development strategy, a concept which the province of Davao del Norte implemented during the time of former Rodolfo del Rosario.

He recalled that his father once put municipalities in the province into clusters, put together as small and big brothers, complementing and providing support for each other.

It is important to consolidate areas to take advantage of economies of scale, he said.

Arroyo is set to implement her blueprint economic plan that would divide the country into supra-regions where financial resources of national and local governments will be poured together to spur growth and development in an area-wide concept.

Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo said the supra-region will integrate economic investments and harness economic potential and synergy.

The supra-regions are North Luzon which covers regions 1, 2 and the Cordillera Autonomous Region and the provinces of Aurora, Nueva Ecija; Metro Luzon which covers region 3, Calabarzon and National Capital Region; Central Philippines to cover regions 4B, 5, 6, 7, and 8 ; and Mindanao covering regions 10, 11, 12, 13, and ARMM.

Saludo said an Executive Order on these borderless regional groupings spells the mechanism for national and local government partnership for area development synergy.

On the other hand, Governor Gelacio Gementiza of Davao del Norte has expressed support for the mega-region grouping saying the plan augurs well for local development.

The Department of Trade and Industry, meanwhile, is excited about the plan. “It could help us consolidate the gains of Mindanao, said Merly Cruz, the DTIs director for Southern Mindanao. She said the plan is especially beneficial to Mindanao.

Strengthening mega-regions, according to Cruz, backs up DTI’s banner approach, which is “industry-clustering. The biggest challenge within DTI’s scope in implementing such approach is how to connect Mindanao’s gains given the territorial boundaries.

“I have long waited for this plan to come out from (President Arroyo). Now, she has again proven that she’s really a good planner as she puts more weight in strategic planning.” she said.

DTI believes that Arroyo, in pushing for these mega-regions, would strengthen regional development councils to form a supra council for the whole of Mindanao.

She explained that the present operation of Regional Development Councils or RDCs could not do much given the lack of budget.

Cruz thinks that Arroyo would gradually reduce the present bureaucracy and would build a supra body for Mindanao to oversee operations.

DTI, on the other hand, explains the many other benefits the said move could give to the people in Mindanao.

“It would encourage maximum participation, not just within every province or municipality but within Mindanao as a whole”, Cruz said.

She explained further that every area would be given full support to produce, promote and market its champion products while making sure that connectivity will be in place in the form of infrastructure, roads, and others.

” It is giving chance to every area to excel in a particular industry while gathering the support of all other areas in the island to contribute for the development of the whole Mindanao mega-region.” Cruz said. (Philippine Information Agency)

comments powered by Disqus