Senator Richard J. Gordon has assured that Mindanao will not be left behind in the pursuit in progress once re-elected.
Gordon, who came to the provinces of Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon as a guest senatorial candidate of the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem, is envisioning the area as a major Regional Investment and Infrastructure Coordinating Hub (RICH).
“Having a hub in Cagayan de Oro with the seaport and airport will allow you to bring produce all over the world, not just here. So, it’s important that we have a masterplan, I’m sure you have one here,” Gordon said in a radio interview with local media in the city.
“Everybody wanted to have one. I’m planning one in Negros, planning one in Panay Island, certainly in Cagayan de Oro as well,” he added.
The RICH bill aims to set up several hubs encompassing commerce, agriculture, education, government, and transportation in several areas across the country, including Cagayan de Oro in Northern Mindanao.
He cited the area’s robust environment, as it is already surrounded by fresh produce from Bukidnon, a seaport, and the Laguindingan Airport nearby, where it could export its produce.
Aside from the RICH hub, Gordon said that he is also pushing for the development of Lake Lanao, akin to Laguna de Bay, through the establishment of a government corporation.
Gordon filed the RICH bill with Central Luzon targeted as a pilot area in the 17th Congress.
“Maasahan niyo ang tulong ng Senado. Eventually, iyong Lake Lanao Development Authority, magiging parang Switzerland ng Asia,” cited Gordon.
“Dapat ang airport sa Balo-i ay ma-develop, kung gagawin iyon. Kailangan may vision,” he continued.
It may be recalled that Gordon spearheaded the Philippine Red Cross (PRC)’s relief operations in the area, which had been devastated by Typhoons Sendong and Pablo in the early 2010s.
The country’s largest humanitarian organization was able to build around 5,000 houses in partnership with other national Red Cross councils.
Prior to being senator, Gordon helped in the negotiations for the release of several hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf.
He had also responded to several armed conflicts in the area, helping the residents of Marawi recover from months of intense fighting wherein the city was virtually flattened, and awarded cash grants up to Php 10,000 pesos to 2,307 affected families.