NEWS: Work still as usual for MEDCo- Usec. Leyretana

IRR on MEDCO’s placing under NEDA still being hammered on

dec 2

Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) Chair Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana said Monday that and he and his 80-man staff are continuing to work as usual and without let-up for Mindanao’s peace and developments initiatives despite the President Arroyo’s Executive Order 757 issued last October 13 placing MEDCo under the oversight of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

In an interview, he said that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of EO 757 is still being hammered on at press time even as MEDCo has already crafted its own proposed IRR for submission to Malacanang.

The undersecretary refused to divulge the MEDCo-proposed IRR saying he do not want to preempt other concerned higher officials including NEDA Director-General Ralph Recto.

But he added that the final IRR is still within the authority and prerogative of the President, whom he said he would abide with her position.

MEDCo before at its latest was under the oversight of the Office of Presidential Assistant for the Peace Process (OPAPP), which is under the Office of the President (OP). Before OPAPP, MEDCo had been directly under the OP since the Aquino administration.

A controversy is now swirling over the presidential move as several stakeholders in Mindanao have raised opposition or expressed warriness on the sudden placement of MEDCo under the NEDA’s wings.

However Leyretana clarified that the placing of MEDCo under NEDA does not mean its absorption of or integration to the latter.

“The IRR is just meant to harmonize things with utmost clarity to avoid misinterpretation and the word supervision does not mean control,” he said.

Part of EO 757 stated that NEDA shall provide general supervision to MEDCo in the formulation of continuing and integrated socio-economic development plans, policies and programs, and in the exercise and implementation of its regular functions spelled out in earlier EOs.

But Leyretana maintained that based on historical experiences on failures and inadequacies of national interventions to the problems of Mindanao since the colonial times “there is a need for a strong, responsible and accountable institution for the delivery of the promises for Mindanao”.

“No longer those ad hoc, transitory, palliative bodies and task forces, in short, placebo for Mindanao,” he said.

He said that in all those years since 1992 that MEDCo has been making gains and headways for Mindanao MEDCo has been “every President’s workhorse for Mindanao”.

“We have been accomplishing all these things in collaboration with local government units, the private sector, civil society, academe, line agencies, and gained integrity, dependability and confidence of donor agencies and countries, because we carried with the President’s imprimatur and there has been no intervening layer,” the undersecretary said.

He said that the development approach to Luzon and Visayas could not be applied to Mindanao, which he said has been “hosting two prominent and distinct cultures, systems and ways of life and philosophies” in general reference to the communities under Christianity and Islam.

He also said that MEDCo as it is now is governed by the MEDCo Council which counts among its members the chairmen and co-chairmen of regional development councils, private sector representatives, two congressmen from each region in Mindanao, the president of the Mindanao Confederation of Governors and Mayors.

Leyretana also expressed hope that the MEDCo would be converted into the Mindanao Economic Development Authority (MEDA) if the House Bill 5255 proposing to create it is legislated.

Last November 7 he already recommended to President Arroyo the house bill for certification – as among Malacañang’s priority bills. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)


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