By ALI G. MACABALANG
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has opened his city to the entry, display and sale of products from Mindanao, especially the Bangsamoro region, as he engaged the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) in the conduct of the “MinDA Tienda” in his turf scheduled this month, according to Sec. Manny Piñol.
MinDA Chairman Piñol and his team cruised from here to Manila in a 40-hour travel on Sept. 20-21 to formalize with the Manila City Hall the rescheduling of the “MinDA TienDA sa Maynila” from that month to Oct. 23-25.
MinDA produced and posted in the social media Facebook a video documentary of Mayor Isko’s warm reception to the visiting team ranging from his introduction of Sec. Piñol at their Monday’s flag ceremony to a two-hour meeting on enhancing Manila’s socio-economic and cultural links with Mindanao.
“During our 2-hour extensive discussions in the presence of Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and his chief of staff, former Undersecretary Cesar Chavez, Mayor Isko, as he is popularly known, agreed to the MinDA Tienda event set Oct. 23 to 25 in the Mehan Garden right beside the Manila City Hall,” Piñol said.
The 3-day event will feature Mindanao products, including fruits, sea and marine products, processed fish and bottled Spanish sardines, vegetables, organic rice, hand-woven fabric from the Bangsamoro region, as well as live Lapulapu fish varieties.
“Mayor Isko gave special interest in the participation of the Bangsamoro in the MinDA Tienda sa Manila saying that the promotion of goods from the autonomous region could contribute to improvement of economy and strengthen the gains of peace,” Piñol said.
He recalled how Mayor Isko displayed “his deep concern for the Bangsamoro” by proudly announcing the opening of an Islamic cemetery in Manila and saying that the Muslims in the city have long been denied of a burial place for their loved ones.
After the flag ceremony, Manila journalists interviewed Mayor Isko and Sec. Piñol. The latter stressed how economic recovery in Mindanao would be boosted by the opportunity provided by the young may9or for farmers and fishermen from the South to have access to the huge Manila market.
“The support of Manila to Mindanao farmers and fishermen will create income earning and job opportunities, and help the region recover from the adverse effects of COVID-19 (and other challenges),” Piñol said.
Mayor Isko suggested that during the three nights of the MinDA Tienda, cultural presentations and performances by select bands from Mindanao should be staged to give Manileños a glimpse of the culture of the South, Piñol said.
He said MinDA will coordinate with the different Local Government Units in Mindanao so that the MinDA Tienda sa Manila will truly display the richness of Mindanao, both in products and culture.
In a separate post, MinDA Director Joey Recimilla said Central Mindanao-based cottage industry producers have agreed to showcase samples of their innovative products including Covid-19 face shields made partly of bamboo.
Recimilla, representing Sec. Emmanuel Piñol, addressed a business forum in Kidapawan City on Monday, assuring leaders of organized bamboo industry players of MinDA’s support.
The forum was also graced by North Cotabato 3rd District Rep. Jose Tejada, who announced some legislative steps being proposed in Congress to enhance bamboo-based industries.
Meanwhile, Sec. Piñol announced that prior to preparations for the MinDA Tienda sa Manila, Mindanao’s farmers have already scored big sales after Mayor Isko ordered 500 metric tons of black, red, and brown organic rice for the city’s estimated 150,000 senior citizens.
Piñol pegged the advance sales of one of Mindanao’s popular agricultural products at PHP40 million, a price that Mayor Isko said is worth the health benefits it would give the senior citizens of his city. (AGM)