Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines – The proposed 2017-2022 country partnership strategy (CPS) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the Philippines would focus on infrastructure buildup in the Visayas and the South Central Mindanao Growth Corridor.
In its updated member fact sheet for the Philippines, ADB said the new CPS would give emphasis on four interrelated priority areas: sustainable and climate-resilient infrastructure, good governance and finance, employment and education, and regional integration.
“The strategy plans to foster inclusive growth by supporting development in the Visayas and Mindanao while continuing to support national programs,” ADB said.
“In addition to building and rehabilitating national roads and modernizing the public transport systems in Davao City, investments will be prepared to focus on the South Central Mindanao Growth Corridor,” it added.
The Manila-based multilateral development bank also said the new CPS would be closely aligned with the approved long-term socioeconomic vision of the country contained in the Ambisyon Natin 2040 as well as the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
The CPS is ADB’s primary platform for designing its operational programs in member countries. The timeframe for the strategy depends on the country’s planning cycle, major economic and political developments.
Consultations for the Philippines’ new CPS will begin in July with strategy formulation meetings to be held beginning August. The plan will be endorsed to the ADB board in January 2018.
Under the current PDP, the Duterte administration wants to accelerate infrastructure buildup in regions identified as strategic growth areas with the aim of spurring growth and development in rural areas.
Among such areas is the South Central Mindanao Corridor (SCMC) which comprises Davao, South Cotabato, Cotabato City Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani (SOCCSKSARGEN), as well as parts of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The corridor is one of the three development corridors identified in the Mindanao Development Corridors Program, a spatial development strategy carried out by the Mindanao Development Authority that aims to raise the competitiveness of industries in Mindanao — particularly in agriculture, tourism and manufacturing sectors — by providing them with common service facilities.
The two other growth corridors identified were: Northern Mindanao which covers the Northern Mindanao and Caraga Regions, and Western Mindanao which covers the Zamboanga Peninsula Region.
South-Central Mindanao will be developed as a main food production area for Mindanao. The Northern Mindanao corridor, meanwhile is envisioned to become an industrial and services hub. Western Mindanao would be positioned as the gateway to the sub-regional trade grouping of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines.
Under its operations and business plan for the Philippines for fiscal years 2017-2019, ADB committed to lend $4.22 billion for development and infrastructure programs and to extend technical assistance valued at $9.3 million.
This meant for projects that would help the country achieve more inclusive growth and address income inequalities and regional disparities.