- Pres. Rodrigo Duterte said that the DA will add P300 million for agriculture projects in Maguindanao
- Maguindanao continues to be one of the poorest provinces in the country
- More than half of families living there are considered poor
The current administration is targeting an additional P300 million to improve agriculture in the province of Maguindanao, according to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte said that the Department of Agriculture (DA), under the supervision of Secretary Manny Piñol, specifically prioritized the province due to the relatively high poverty incidence in the area.
“[Secretary Piñol] is willing to pour again P300 million, may available siya sa Department of Agriculture para dito sa inyo. Alam mo kasi ang priority ko itong Maguindanao, pati Sultan Kudarat [he has available in the DA for you. You know, Maguindanao, including Sultan Kudarat]. You know why? [According to] statistics, you have the highest incidence of hunger,” he explained, as previously quoted by Politiko.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) points at Maguindanao as among the provinces with the highest poverty incidence in the whole country with 54.5 percent, which means more than half of all families living in the country are considered poor.
“Ang mga tao nakakaawa e. [The people are poor.] Maybe you would be short of everything but not food, mahirap ‘yan gutom ang tao [it is difficult when the people are hungry]. I am happy that [Secretary Piñol] has decided to pour the P300 million for you here,” he said, as quoted by GMA News.
DA Secretary Piñol, had said that the funds would be available “right away” as soon as the necessary paperwork and documentation had been all complied with.
Meanwhile, Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, a long-time ally of the President, said that the additional funding would be in line with his economic agenda for the province, which centers on agricultural productivity as a means for normalization in conflict areas of Maguindanao and to empower local farmers.
“There is no reason now for the Mindanao peace process to fail because we have someone in Malacañang who is a native of Mindanao, who understands the root causes of the Moro issue,” the Governor said, as previously reported by PhilStar.