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Mindanao leader receives honors from Pnoy

Local News • 05:27 AM Thu Jun 30, 2016
Mindanao Development Authority Sec. Lulwalhati Antonino stresses a point in a recent meeting with ComVal local officials. (photo courtesy of Compostela Valley LGU)

DAVAO CITY -- President Benigno Aquino III conferred on Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chair Luwalhati Antonino the Order of Lakandula, one of the highest honors granted by the Republic of the Philippines to individuals who have demonstrated dedication to the welfare of society.”Antonino was given the rank of Gold Cross Bayani together with 23 other cabinet secretaries of President Benignoo Aquino during a ceremony on June 23 at Malacañang Palace.The Order of Lakandula is awarded for political and civic merit in memory of Lakandula’s dedication to the responsibilities of leadership, prudence, fortitude, courage and resolve in the service of one’s people.President Aquino also bestowed the Presidential Medal of Merit on other senior officials who have rendered outstanding service to the country. I think it is incumbent upon me to give official recognition to those who have gone above and beyond our expectations,” said President Aquino in a statement delivered at the awarding ceremony.During President Aquino’s term, Secretary Antonino through MinDA launched numerous banner programs aimed to strengthen drivers of inclusive and sustainable growth, following the strategies and directions set in place by the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan. The plan is considered as the region’s socioeconomic roadmap for 2011 to 2030.Among these projects include the Mindanao Development Corridors, aimed to bolster infrastructure and connectivity within the island-region to facilitate its transformation as a cohesive and integrated economy participating in the international community. The corridors program was endorsed by key national government offices, ensuring budget for key infrastructure projects in Mindanao.The MindaNOW! Nurturing Our Waters Program, a project designed to ensure that Mindanao’s natural resources are properly managed is also being currently implemented by MinDA. The project utilizes the ridge-to-reef” approach, a strategy that requires the protection, utilization, and rehabilitation of the environment from the mountains to the seas.Through the MindaNOW Program and in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, a Guinness World Record for Most Trees Planted Simultaneously in an hour was achieved by the Philippines on Sept. 26, 2014. The record, dubbed as TreeVolutionand Greening Mindanao, facilitated the planting of 4 million trees across Mindanao’s six regions.Under Antonino’s leadership, MinDA launched the Mindanao Collective Trademark (MCT), a system designed to enhance the competitiveness of products originating from the region. Once fully utilized, the MCT will give Mindanao agri-products a certain distinction in the global markets. The MCT was launched in partnership with the European Union-Philippines through its Trade Related Technical Assistance Project 3.Over the past six years, MinDA also forged partnerships with the Philippine Business for Social Progress for the conduct of the Mindanao Inclusive Agribusiness Program the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry for an investment promotion and policy formulation agreement the Asian Development Bank and the US Agency for International Development for the implementation of infrastructure projects and feasibility studies in the South Central Mindanao Corridors and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies for the promotion of policy research in Mindanao and the establishment of the Mindanao Knowledge Center, among others.In 2012, the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) was organized by MinDA and the Department of Energy to address Mindanao’s power situation. Since its inception, the committee has facilitated the improvement of the region’s power capacities and secured more than 347 megawatts of power supply to the Mindanao grid. Additional power supply of 639 megawatts are expected to come online within the year.The MPMC also opened the One-Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center to accelerate the approval of permits for renewable energy projects to cut one to two years from the three to five year requirement. A focused target to keep the region’s energy mix diversified with emphasis on renewable energy is being pushed by MinDA through the MPMC.Antonino is the first woman to take leadership of the agency that serves as the Philippine government’s principal planning and coordinating agency in Mindanao.As MinDA secretary, she performs a broad range of responsibilities that includes addressing critical issues involving Mindanao, and those that require national representation or presidential intervention. Antonino was appointed as MinDA Chair by President Aquino in 2010.She also sits as a board member of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, and serves as the chairperson the agency’s infrastructure committee. As the infrastructure committee chairperson, Antonino pushed for higher tourism infrastructure budget for Mindanao, and facilitated the completion of several tourism projects across the island-region.

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