Posted by: luvin | September 18, 2008

How Rich is Mindanao?

There are about 125 countries which have smaller areas than Mindanao, and with the population of more than 21.5 million which is closer to the population of Malaysia, and largely more populous than many european countries, it could be argued that Mindanao by itself could sustain a respectable economic activity. But can it really stand on it own. What would be the repercussion of a Mindanao Republic.

Mindanao is generally viewed by Philippine and international media as the country’s basket case. What is always highlighted is the poverty in ARMM and other localities, and Mindanaoans are insisting that that is not the case. Indeed, that is not the case. A quick look at Davao City and the other urban city (at least in the Philippine standard) would show the coming out of Mindanao. At present there are eight highly urbanized cities in Mindanao, namely; Zamboanga, Butuan, Iligan, General Santos, Cotabato, Tagum, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro. These cities have the infrastructure and facilities, like malls, hospitals, and  education centers,  that are inherent in other highly urbanized cities in the country and abroad.

There are also eight Ist class cities in terms of income. These are cities that have revenue of more than 300 million pesos per year (for the last three yers). Davao city is number one with it revenue which is approaching the three (3) billion peso mark. A big jump from a mere 380 million in 1992. A far second is Cagayan de Oro which is approaching the 1.5 billion mark. Surprisingly, three small cities qualified as first class even if it is not highly urganized. Pagadian, Kidapawan, and Malaybalay. This means that within these small cities are hiddden wealth of the island. Malaybalay for example is a big agri-industrial player. The poultry and piggery farms there are bigger than those in Luzon. Kidapawan for example, a laid back town (it is more like a town than a city, just like Malaybalay) is home to many rubber farmers. Not to mention their fruits and other high valued crops. No wonder why so many banks have put up branches there. China Bank for example is recognizable only in big cities, but it has a branch in Kidapawan.

The combined income of the Ist and 2nd class cities is approaching the 10 billion level. If the 3rd and 4th class cities and all the municipalities are included, the total amount would be significant to say that Philippines cannot afford to let go of Mindanao.

On its own resources, it is safe to say that Mindanao can sustain assistance for the development of ARMM, and other less developed regions like CARAGA and part of Zamboanga.

Manila should wake, because soon Mindanao will stand and move towards a direction that it desires. The powers that be in Luzon should not wait for the time when all Mindanaoans will be united in a single cause, that may start the balkanization of the country, but may be beneficial to Mindanao.

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