Ten of the poorest provinces in the country are in Mindanao, with Lanao del Norte leading the way with a 67.3 percent poverty incidence.
Aside from Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao, Zamboanga del Norte, Saranggani, North Cotabato, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Camiguin, Sultan Kudarat and Sulu also made the list of the top 16 poorest provinces.
The problem exists despite Mindanao’s vast natural resources, which remained untapped until now due to the decades-long conflict in the region.
However, Senator Bam Aquino believes that things will turn for the better for Mindanao with the imminent passage of the Bangsamoro political entity and the ASEAN Integration in 2015.
“The expected approval of the Bangsamoro political entity and the ASEAN Integration in 2015 will turn Mindanao into a magnet for businesses and investors,” said Aquino.
Aquino added that the 1st Mindanao Social Business Summit, which will be held from June 4-6 at the Central Mindanao University in Maramag, Bukidnon, will play a key role in addressing problems hounding the region.
Carrying the theme, “Wealth Creation with Justice and Peace through Social Entrepreneurship,” the summit’s goal is to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity in Mindanao thru social innovation and entrepreneurship.
The summit will advocate for partnerships among stakeholders the need for a holistic support mechanism towards inclusive growth to reduce poverty and discuss the implications of development in Mindanao for social entrepreneurship.
During the summit, Aquino will discuss the importance of inclusive growth and social entrepreneurship in reducing poverty.
A former social entrepreneur before becoming a lawmaker, Aquino will share his experience with the Hapinoy program, which he co-founded, to delegates from the business and government sectors, officials from different universities and other NGOs from Mindanao.
Aquino will also tackle his inclusive growth bills that will help boost micro, small and medium enterprises, leading to creation of jobs and other livelihood for millions of Filipinos.