Peace and development in Mindanao a priority – Poe
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe vowed to give a larger chunk of the national budget to Mindanao and create further economic opportunities in the region, if elected president.
Poe said in a statement that peace and development in Mindanao – which has a high incidence of poverty – would be her administration's priority if she is elected.
"Mindanao is my priority. Just like any parent would prioritize a child that has more needs, I believe that the government needs to invest more in Mindanao and give it more development projects. Growth must be inclusive and must leave no one behind," she said.
According to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, hunger incidence in Mindanao were at 13% in the fourth quarter of 2015, indicating some 658,000 families experienced hunger in the region.
According to a 2012 survey by the National Statistical Coordination Board, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) remains the poorest among all the regions. Nearly half of its population lives below the poverty line, with 10 Mindanao provinces among the 16 poorest provinces in the country.
Poe pointed out that "most of the lowest-ranked provinces in Mindanao are conflict-ridden." She said this is why it is important to achieve genuine and sustained peace.
Poe wants to allocate 30% of the national budget to develop Mindanao, particularly its infrastructure, for the region to capitalize on the country’s economic momentum and build on its potential as a tourist destination.
"People in Mindanao deserve the same support and attention that people in Metro Manila or Luzon are getting, if not even more,” Poe said.
Mindanao was previously a bailiwick of Poe's father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. The region's support for the senator's presidential bid, however, has waned, with voter preference surveys indicating a drop of 10 percentage points – from 20% to 10% – for Poe between September and December. – Rappler.com
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