NEWS: FVR: “EO 757 dilutes MEDCo’s access to President’s authority over Mindanao”

“Tug-of-war over turf, logistics and influence over Mindanao solutions”

dec 1

merryxmasFormer President Fidel V. Ramos yesterday branded that the controversial Executive Order 757 that placed the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) under the National Economic Development Authority has significantly “diluted MEDCo’s direct access to the President, and the power of PGMA’s authority over matters of crucial importance to Mindanao”.

In his second of the two-part column in a Manila daily, the former President made potshots to the controversy after crediting MEDCo’s wide-ranging islandwide efforts such as the July launching of the Mindanao 2020, a strategic plan for modernizing Mindanao.

“True to its mandate, MEDCo is undertaking a scientific process to transform the existing Mindanao 2000 framework into a more refined roadmap – which is Mindanao 2020,” he said. Mindanao 2020 is the upgraded sequel to Mindanao 2000 Development Framework Plan (Mindanao 2000) drawn out from MEDCo’s efforts.

“There is a compelling need to formulate Mindanao 2020 as a holistic, multidimensional and integrated peace and development strategy that is attuned to the current needs and potentials of Mindanao in accordance with its unique historical, social, political, economic and cultural background. This process – to the credit of MEDCo – has been started,” he said.

Ramos however said that the “recent flurry of planning and integrating activities by executives, experts and lawmakers on two broad fronts – peacemaking and socio-economic development – augurs well for the people of Mindanao and that since its creation in 1992 until recently, all these multifarious activities were being handled by Malacañang thru MEDCo. By virtue of a new Executive Order, however, MEDCo has just been detached from the Office of the President”

“In this latest situation, it appears that there is again a tug-of-war over turf, logistics and influence over Mindanao solutions – which is an undesirable but recurring phenomenon in Philippine governance,” Ramos added in his column entitled “The Mindanao Economic Development Authority”.

He stressed on the need to have “one official – and only one” official in Mindanao representing the President citing that during his presidency he had only one Presidential Assistant for Mindanao (PAMIN) Paul Dominguez, “(who) was clothed with sufficient authority to make on-the-spot decisions over Mindanao matters already covered by national or Presidential policy. “

“This efficient set-up quickly disintegrated during the succeeding Estrada administration with the appointment of 3 PAREs (Presidential Assistants for Regions) in Mindanao – which resulted in inevitable rivalry for Presidential attention and “goodies” by his 3 “com-pares,” he added.

Ramos pushed anew to legislate House Bill 5255 that seeks to create the Mindanao Economic Development Authority (MEDA) as a solution “considering Mindanao’s recent history of “sulong-atras” (forward-backward) governance” and as “a lasting institutional mechanism to insure a continuous coordinative and integrative process in formulating and implementing Mindanao-wide, inter-regional development plans, programs and projects for maximum impact and benefit.”

MEDCo Chair and Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana already recommended last November 7, to President Arroyo the house bill for certification – as among Malacañang’s priority bills.  (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)


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