People call Mindanao as the ‘Land of Promise’. Through the years, in spite of all difficulties it has encountered, certain efforts are exerted in fulfilling its promise. The Mindanao Economic and Development Council (MEDCo), a counterpart of the government and the Mindanao Business Council (MBC) representing the private business entities in Mindanao are among the prominent institutions who have a common goal of promoting local and regional economic development in Mindanao. Other relevant actors have contributed as well for the benefit of Mindanao and its constituent; however MEDCo and MinBC’s efforts are emphasized in this paper.
Local and regional economic development (LRED) is a process in which partnerships between local governments [with the national government], community and civic groups and the private sector are established to manage existing resources to create jobs and stimulate the economy of a well-defined area. In this paper, Mindanao is determined as an island-region, an emerging well-defined area where local regional development is being promoted. LRED emphasises local control, using potentials of human, institutional and physical area natural resources. LRED initiatives mobilise actors, organizations and resources, develop new institutions and local systems (Helmsing, 2003). Thus, from the point of view of national government, the rationale that supports regional and local economic development policies is to bring about more equitable distribution of development as well as to use the enormous capacity of localities to promote and sustain development process (OECD, 1986 in Blakely, 1989).
This paper aims to present that local government in coordination with state institutions, community and civic groups as well as private sector groups are concerting efforts in harnessing the resources in the island-region stimulating sustainable economic activities. These are through the efforts of MEDCo by creating the Mindanao Investment Program (MIP) and the Mindanao Action Agenda (MAA) of MinBC. Promoting LRED is an end goal of these institutions. The efforts by these institutions are highlighted according to type of LRED approaches as Business/Enterprise Development (BED), Locality Development (BED), Community Economic Development (CED) and Human Resource Development (HRD).