House TWG meeting tackles budget hike for Mindanao

MANILA A technical working group (TWG) of the House of Representatives committee on Mindanao affairs has convened a meeting with concerned government agencies to discuss the proposal to increase the 2019 budget for Mindanao.

According to a statement issued Wednesday, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Maximo Rodriguez, committee chairman, said the TWG was created 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.

Rodriguez said a realistic target of 20 percent to 21 percent of the national budget could be allotted for Mindanao next year.

He said about 16.2 percent of the 2018 national budget has been allocated for Mindanao, compared to an average share of 12.8 percent from ?2014 to 2017.

During the meeting, Department of Tourism (DOT) Assistant Secretary Maria Lourdes Japson expressed full support for the move to increase the 2019 budget of the region as this would allow the department's regional offices to implement "meaningful capability-building projects."

Japson said DOT's regional directors in the area have begun discussing and identifying additional plans and programs for possible implementation of the projects.

She said that the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program, which involves the rehabilitation or construction of roads leading to tourist destinations, has 677 projects nationwide, and is expected to be fully accomplished by the year 2022.

Other agencies that presented their 2019 budget proposals for Mindanao were the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Mindanao Development Authority. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency