Davao City councilor named new Mindanao Dev't Authority chief

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Maria Belen Acosta as chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa), Malacañang confirmed on Wednesday.

Acosta, who resigned as Davao City councilor on Tuesday, will serve a term of six years. She replaces Emmanuel Piñol who resigned in October to seek a Senate seat in the May 9 polls.

“The Palace confirms that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed on Jan. 6, 2022, the appointment of Maria Belen Sunga Acosta as chairperson of Mindanao Development Authority for a term of six years,” acting Presidential Spokesperson, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, said in a press statement.

Nograles said the Palace wished her good luck in her new post.

“We wish Chairperson Acosta all the best in her new assignment, and are confident that she will continue the initiatives her predecessors pursued to accelerate the socioeconomic growth of Mindanao,” he added.

Acosta will serve as the eighth MinDa chairperson and the second Mindanaoan female leader to head the agency. The first was Luwalhati Antonino from 2010 to 2016.

As chairperson, MinDA said she would lead in coordinating, harmonizing, and integrating various socioeconomic development efforts for Mindanao with inter-regional, Mindanao-wide, and sub-regional impacts.

Acosta will also act as the Philippine Signing Minister leading the participation of Mindanao and Palawan as the country's East Asean Growth Area (EAGA) focus areas in the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines (BIMP) sub-regional cooperation, given MinDA’s mandate as the permanent Philippine Coordinating Office for BIMP-EAGA (PCOBE) under Republic Act 9996 or the Mindanao Development Act of 2010.

Before her appointment, Acosta served the Davao City Council for 18 years in 2001-2010 and 2013-2021.

In 2010, Acosta ran as representative of the city's first district but was defeated by Nograles.

Acosta obtained her Masters in Management, major in Development Management from the University of the Philippines - Mindanao.

She was awarded as one of the Ten Most Outstanding Councilors of the Philippines in 2009, and is Career Executive Service Eligible. (PNA)