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MinDA and Holcim Organize Media Forum

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On September 22, 2021, the Mindanao Development Authority together with Holcim sat down with media via Zoom Conference to discuss the infrastructure development in Mindanao and its impact as enabling support to the socio-economic growth of the different regions in terms of agricultural productivity, poverty alleviation, sustained peace, and Mindanao economic recovery from the pandemic.

Joining as the panelists were MinDA Deputy Director ASec Romeo Montenegro, and Holcim Philippines Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Zoe Zibala.

ASec Montenegro said that Mindanao GDP has always been conveying consistently in the last 20 years demonstrating a growth rate that is better than the national average.

For the unemployment rate in the Mindanao Region, ASec Montenegro mentioned that except Region 9 and BARMM, all the other regions posted a lower unemployment rate as compared to January of this year. The pandemic measure put in place also affected the closure of SMEs and other services sectors which contributed to the unemployment rate in the region. Sectors that posted the highest number of job losses are the services sectors, and industry sectors; while the Agro-industry sectors posted the lowest impact in terms of jobs loss. At the height of the lockdowns and limited movement, Mindanao was able to tap its own internal food sources.

As we emerge from this pandemic strongly, these are the industries that will be able to bring back the jobs that were lost: wholesale/retail, agribusiness, construction, transport and logistics, health and wellness, IT-BPM (Business Process Management), manufacturing, and services (restaurant, tourisms, hotels).

The National Government had highlighted agriculture and infrastructure as winning strategies for the country’s economic bounce back which are very relevant sectors to Mindanao’s peculiarity, to our situation, and to our move to economic recoveries. 40% of the country’s food trade, and 8 out of the top 10 exportable commodities are coming from the region hence making agriculture the strongest asset of Mindanao.

The focus in our economic recovery revolves in these specific points: (1) roll-out more regional inter-linkages and logistics hubs to attract investments into manufacturing and services; (2) growth to be more inclusive and sustainable – with green technology; (3) while Mindanao heavy on industry and services sectors, its resiliency rests largely in agri-sector; (4) need to bring agri-products up the value chain; (5) promote industrial growth, complemented with support on access to quality education and training skills required in the new normal.

Mindanao needs 30% of the country’s allocation to address and tap its potential for economic growth. However due to the economic impact of the pandemic the 2022 budget had been realigned which affected all government agencies. Any deficiencies and gaps in terms of government funding and public investment can be bridge by investment from private sectors.

One of the highlights of the Media Forum was the updates from DPWH XI on accomplished and ongoing regional infrastructure projects and DPWH Region XII progress of the top 3 high-impact priority projects of their region.

With this progress in Mindanao, Holcim continued to build a structure for the region’s development. Holcim also continues its initiatives to support the communities under the Holcim HELPS campaign. As of August, the Holcim HELPS community initiatives in Mindanao have benefited 42,000 people with projects for health and safety, livelihood, and infrastructure. Holcim remains committed to being part of Mindanao’s development. Holcim Group commits to be the builders of progress by leading in innovative and sustainable building solutions, making cities greener from foundation to rooftop, empowering society with smarter infrastructure from green mobility to renewable energy to essential sanitation, and improving living standards for all with affordable and sustainable solutions.

The virtual event was moderated by Mr. Carmelito Francisco of Mindanao Times, and Mr. Antonio Ajero of Edge Davao.