CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY- His Excellency Steven J. Robinson AO, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, visited Northern Mindanao to explore areas for collaboration, business, and investment.
The Ambassador visited the National Economic and Development Authority-Regional Office X (NEDA-X) on 23 April 2021 to discuss opportunities in the region where Australia can provide meaningful assistance and investments. He noted agriculture, infrastructure, renewable energy, digitalization, and education as areas that they can encourage Australian firms to look into.
“More than 50 percent [of Australia’s development assistance] comes to Mindanao, so we’re involved in a whole range of activities down in this part of the world from health, education, governance, [and] anything that will go to peace, prosperity, and economic revival. Over the last twelve months, we have redirected all of our programs to focus on the Philippine’s economic recovery from COVID-19,” said Ambassador Robinson.
NEDA-X Regional Director Mylah Faye Aurora B. Cariño, CESO III, shared that before the pandemic hit, Northern Mindanao had the most substantial reduction in poverty in the country. “In 2018, we already achieved our target for 2022, so we had to recalibrate. Then COVID-19 came.”
The agency head presented the region’s top development imperatives and socio-economic recovery plans to cushion the adverse effects of the crisis. These include the COVID -19 Regional Recovery Program, the Metropolitanization of Cagayan de Oro, the Convergence Areas for Peace and Development program, and the priority investment areas in agriculture and manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure, among others.
Australia has expressed logistics support in the vaccination rollout especially in Mindanao.
The Philippines and Australia celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations this year. The Australian embassy is expanding its engagements to sustain the strong relationship between the two countries.