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Bukidnon wants fair share of gov’t pie

MALAYBALAY, Bukidnon – Elected governors and other officials in Mindanao are contemplating in forming an alliance that would press for major assistance to their area under President Duterte’s administration.

Bukidnon Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri said initial efforts have already been initiated with other elected officials in Mindanao to form the group that would help President Rodrigo Duterte correct the age-old dismal national financial and technical support to their region.

Zubiri laments that Mindanao has been getting only 19 percent of the annual national budget eventhough the island region’s natural resources are being exploited to greater advantages of business people in Metro Manila and elsewhere in the country.

“Our provincial government provided rice subsidies to tens of thousands of drought-affected villagers, but the central government failed to chip-in even a single kilo of rice,” said Zubiri.

Zubiri disclosed they will personally visit and convince all governors in the south to form the Mindanao Alliance Movement (MAM) which aims to gain a fair share of the budget and technical supports from the national government.

“I am willing to host in Bukidnon the (organizational) gathering…It’s high time to end the inequities. We are certain our new President, a fellow Mindanaoan, will support us,” said Zubiri.

The governor’s son and senator Migz Zubiri also hinted that the proposed island-wide alliance would easily gain legislative support because the Senate and the House of Representatives would soon be led by fellow Mindanaons in Senator Koko Pimentel and Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

For his part, former Buluan, Maguindanao mayor Ibrahim “Jong” Mangudadatu, younger brother of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and a former president of the regional league of mayors in the Autonomous Region (ARMM), said he had already made initial contacts and gained assurances from elected governors from seven other provinces in Mindanao.

“This alliance is our hope to overcome age-old problems caused by national government’s virtual neglect,” said Mangudadatu. (Ali G. Macabalang)