DAVAO CITY – Except for the first few weeks after martial law was first declared in Mindanao due to negative impression, Davao Region’s trade and investments recovered even more robust until 2018.
“I think initially we thought this (martial law) would be detrimental to growth but because investors see that the President (Rodrigo Duterte) is serious in terms of bringing about lasting change, their interest remains bullish regarding Mindanao. In fact, more business delegations have expressed their interest in visiting Davao next year,” said Ronald Go, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII).
The DCCCII, which has over 300 businessmen and firms as members, has supported President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law to resolve old conflicts especially in Mindanao.
“Our president is unlike those in the past who perceived the threats in Mindanao as just a petty disturbance that could be taken care of with little money. They tried to use band aid fixes for wounds which were long infected,” Go said, emphasizing that the Philippines cannot move forward as a nation until these are handled with seriousness.
Go pointed out that other Asian nations became progressive once the elements which tried to sow division among them were dealt with decisively.
“We need to band together to quell any movement that seeks to divide us as a nation. If martial law is a means to that end then I think we all need to be patient and let things take their course,” Go added.
Go’s prospects for the region is confirmed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) XI based on statistics as a good indicator that “it’s business as usual in Davao.”
DTI is bullish to overshoot targets at the end of the year. DTI XI regional director Ma. Belenda Ambi pointed out that peace and security is a strategy to develop industries.
She said that despite the President’s extended martial law from July to December, no significant change had been observed that caused the business climate to deteriorate.
While martial law had an impact on the tourism industry, Ambi said the sector quickly recovered few weeks after its declaration in May.
In fact, Ambi said, hotels were always fully-booked. “Our martial law is different. There is no fear that the military will abuse,” she said.
There could be increase in the prices of commodities but these are still within the suggested price set by DTI, Ambi added.
In its preliminary annual report, DTI XI reported that investments in Davao region hit P7.62 billion as of the third quarter of the year with Davao City registering with the biggest total investments at P4.9 billion.
Davao del Sur’s registered investments is pegged at PhP1.78 billion followed by Davao del Norte with P546.81 million and Compostela Valley province with P386.74 million.
Davao Region’s top ten Board of Investments (BOI)-registered companies as of the third quarter are San Miguel Foods in Davao del Sur; Communities Davao, Inc in Davao City; 8990 Housing Development Corporation in Davao City; Davao Corrugated Packaging Company Inc.; Agri-Tech Corporation in Davao del Sur; Prestige Homes and Realty Development Corporation in Davao City; Primeland Properties in Dvaao City; Filinvest Land in Davao City; Ahya Coco Organic Food Manufacturing Corporation in Davao City; and Agrotech Integrated Farms Inc. in Compostela Valley.
The whole year in 2015, Davao Region has a total investments of P4.708 billion and in 2016 at 10.266 billion.
DTI said that the three-year investment performance is P7.531 billion with 2015 as the base year.
There is 118 percent increase in investment in 2016 while 62 percent in 2017, DTI reported.
The top industries in terms of project cost are real estate projects; manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fishing; and, electricity, gas, steam and airconditioning supply. In terms of employment are agriculture, forestry and fishing; real estate projects; and, electricity, gas, steam and airconditioning supply.
Ambi is bullish on local and foreign investments next year. She said investments would continue to increase considering the strong promotion and marketing of Davao.
Romeo Castanaga, provincial director of DTI-Davao del Norte, said he looks forward to two industrial estates in Davao del Norte, the launching of the P1 billion township project, and another project by Anflocor in partnership with UPLB for commercial and institutional project under PEZA.
For Compostela Valley, Lucky Siegfred Ballegue, said Torre Lorenzo is set to open to the public its project in Kopiat, Mabini town.
The beach club project is already 80 percent complete. There is also a 184-room hotel.
DTI-Davao Oriental is also looking forward to the P24 billion industrial park project in Maputi, Banaybanay.
Sec. Datu Hj. Abul Khayr Alonto, chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), said the swift action of the President to end terrorism in Mindanao had once and for all yielded positive results.
He said Mindanao continues to receive investment interests from various local and foreign investors.
Alonto bared that major infrastructure projects are being approved and rolled out as well.
“Rest assured that there is no letting up in our pursuit for economic progress and sustainable peace in the island-region, even in the midst of a martial law declaration,” Alonto said. -PNA
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