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Duterte urged to boost investments in Mindanao

The Duterte administration has been urged to realign its budget and focus its infrastructure development program on Mindanao.

In a forum Friday, Alan Ortiz, president and chief executive officer of SMC-Global Power Holdings Corp., called for the realignment of the government’s P900-billion infrastructure budget so that Mindanao can become the window to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region.

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He suggested that the infrastructure program should cover power and water; transportation; housing and human resources; broadband and internet and defense and security.

“We need a national program that I call an Asean pivot,” Ortiz said, “All our policies, all our energies must focus on Mindanao because it is closest to the Asean region.”

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Ortiz also suggested priority programs under each of these key sectors.

For power, Ortiz suggested completing the Agus system to raise the hydropower output to 600 megawatts and desilting/dredging Pulangui to increase the output from 25 MW to 200 MW.

For the water sector, he said passing the national water act was a must to institutionalize public-private collaboration in the development of water impoundment and distribution systems in the island.

In terms of housing and human development, Ortiz said the government should embark on a mass housing program for officers and employees in new industrial parks.

He also called for the upgrading of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) schools Mindanao-wide to supply the labor requirements of industrial parks, new enterprises and rapidly growing communities.

For defense and security, he said the administration should focus on upgrading all Mindanao army camps, naval yards and air force bases.

Extending coverage of National Broadband Network to all corners of Mindanao should also be addressed under the broadband/internet sector.

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In transportation, he suggested upgrading and expanding international airport and seaport standards and pushing through with the Mindanao railway system.

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