House panel seeks bigger agri, local gov’t funds for Mindanao

MANILA The House of Representatives Committee on Mindanao Affairs is asking for bigger budget allocations from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) for Mindanao in 2019.

During a technical working group (TWG) meeting with concerned agencies on the proposed budget hike for Mindanao, committee chairman Maximo Rodriguez Jr. said the funding for the region should be increased by more than 10 percent from its current budget to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth.

Rodriguez said only 3 percent of the DILG's 2017 budget went to Mindanao, compared to 92 percent for Luzon.

DILG Planning Service Director Francisco Cruz said based on the proposals of the DILG regional offices, there may be a marked increase in the department's allocation for Mindanao next year.

Meanwhile, committee vice chairman Alberto Ungab sought higher funding for agriculture in Mindanao for next year to ensure further growth in agricultural productivity and reduce poverty incidence in the southern region.

Ungab said agricultural productivity is hampered by the lack of funding support for important infrastructure projects, such as farm-to-market roads.

Rodriguez cited the DA allocation for Mindanao this year is only 17.36 percent of the agency's total budget in 2018, lower than the region's allocation of 19.9 percent in 2017.

The TWG has been conducting a series of meetings with various government agencies to discuss possible ways to raise the budget allocations for Mindanao, as well as the plans and programs to uplift the socio-economic conditions in the region. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency