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DAVAO CITY, Feb. 17 (PIA) – A delegation of Mindanao scholars from government agencies and development organizations completed a 14-day course on corridor development on Friday in the city of Seongnam in South Korea.

The 24 participants from Mindanao underwent a series of training and lectures on Building Strategy for Economic Development through Corridor Approach from February 5 to 18 funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

One of the main objectives of the program is to enhance the capacity of the participants in preparing strategic policies that will contribute to the economic growth and development in Mindanao. KOICA is a development aid agency founded in 1991 to maximize the effectiveness of Korea's grant aid programs for developing countries.

Among the expected output from the training is an action plan on establishing sustainable economic development policy in Mindanao, enhancing the capacity of public officials, as well revitalizing the regional or rural economic development in the island-region.

“This training will enhance further the skills of our scholars and employees who will play key roles in pushing our initiatives to establish economic zones in Mindanao through the corridors program,” said Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

He added that the region is currently looking at a holistic approach in which Mindanao’s agriculture and its component sectors such as fisheries and aquamarine culture are crucial to Mindanao’s development, following the thrust of strengthening the corridors approach to development.

The training included study visits to some of Korea’s industry facilities and historical sites including the Busan Port, Korea Expressway Corporation Traffic Center, Samsung Innovation Museum, and Cheongpyeong Temple. It is also part of the continuing efforts to strengthen cooperation in trade between Philippines and Korea.

“This was a great opportunity for us to see for ourselves Korea’s regional economic development strategies and best practices, which we can also apply in Mindanao,” said Gerardo Reynaldo, MinDA’s chief of the Central Mindanao area office and the head of the Mindanao delegation to Korea.

Reynaldo added that the lectures and on-site education from the training provided sufficient insights on how to better pursue the Mindanao Development Corridors Program, as well as the Mindanao Ecozones Development. Also joining the MinDA participants are representatives from the local government units, academe, non-government organizations, and ecozone agencies.

The delegates also took part in the unveiling ceremony of the Asia-Pacific and Africa Cooperation Academy (APACA) led by its Head Dr. Un-Seong Jeon and Director Joanne E. Jeong.

The APACA is an institution at Kangwon National University designed to specialize in various leadership training programs for individuals in Korea and abroad. Some of these programs are implemented in cooperation with KOICA, which has been actively promoting sustainable development, strengthening partnerships with developing partners, and enhancing the local ownership of beneficiaries among developing countries.

“We are looking forward to applying the action plan we crafted here, with the help of our professional experts in Korea, to our respective offices once we get back home. There are still so many potentials to be tapped in Mindanao,” Reynaldo said.

The 24 Mindanao scholars included Arvin Chua from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Leah Tarhata Mehila from the Regional Economic Zone Authority-ARMM, Sukarno Baraguir from the Regional Board of Investments-ARMM, Gilbert Gordo from the University of Southeastern Philippines, Eileen San Juan from the City Government of Cagayan de Oro, Marie Angelique Go from the City Government of Zamboanga, Norhayna Diamla from the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur, Christopher Lawrence Arnuco from the Zamboanga Ecozone Authority, Lucio Jamero Jr. from the The Musikahan sa Tagum Foundation, Abdul Gaffur Madki Howard Alonto II from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Region X, Abner Caga from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Caraga, Ameen Andrew Alonto from the Regional Legislative Assembly-ARMM, and Gerardo Reynaldo, Lordilie Enjambre, Makmod Pasawilan, Ana Marie Bless Labor, Yvette Valderia, Marjorie Apurado, Carlos Cerezo, Renato Buhat Jr., Iris Mae Ferraris, Ambrojoe Daud, and Heidi Villanueva from MinDA. The delegation were also joined by KOICA Philippines Program Manager Francis Afable. (MinDA/PIA-Caraga)