DAVAO CITY, Philippines – About 11 proposed foreign investment projects estimated to be worth P6 billion ($134.06 million*) are eyed for Mindanao, based on the business matching results at a recent conference here.
The 2nd Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Trade Fair and Business Leaders’ Conference was held as part of efforts to promote trade, investment and tourism in less-developed states and provinces.
The proposed investment packages are also expected to generate 117,000 employment opportunities for the island’s residents, Luwalhati Antonino, chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said.
The proposed foreign investment projects include:
- An IT Park in General Santos City
- A coffee plantation Sultan Kudarat worth P1.5 billion ($33.52 million)
- A corn processing plant in South Cotabato worth P350 million ($15.67 million)
- A coconut processing plant in Davao del Sur
- An oil depot in Polloc Port in Maguindanao worth P440 million ($19.69 million)
- Oil palm ventures in General Santos City, Davao City, North Cotabato (worth P1.5 billion or $33.52 million), Davao del Norte and Malaybalay, Bukidnon
- A coconut buying station in Lanao Del Sur
However, these are not yet agreements but are investment leads that they would closely monitor, according to Romeo Montenegro, MinDA director of investment promotions and public affairs.
Apart from the proposed investments, at least $134.06 million worth of commitments were generated during the trade fair for booked sales, mostly agreements and reservations for products and commodities, Montenegro added.
Initial reports from the Philippines and Malaysia indicated a total of 2.9 billion ($64.83 million) in booked sales from the international trade fair.
Despite BIMP-EAGA’s missed targets in the past two decades, Montenegro said they are now seeing a fast-paced growth for Mindanao under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration.
“We will be flooded with cheaper ASEAN products [when ASEAN integrates],” Montenegro said.
On the other hand, products from the Philippines will have greater access to international markets most especially its agricultural products such as banana, cacao, and coffee, he said.
Connectivity and direct flights from Mindanao to major trade areas in the region remain as challenges though.
But MinDA is seeing a more stable power industry next year with the operation of the coal-fired power plants being constructed in Davao City, Sarangani, and Davao del Sur.
In terms of return for Davao City in hosting the 5-day conference from October 22 to 26, Montenegro said the P15 million ($670,889) spent by the government was worth it, considering the investments booked and the income generated by the local industries during the conference.
The conference and the side events in Davao, which were participated in by more than 1,500 delegates, generated at least P17 million ($379,974) for accommodation and food and about P20 million ($447,027) for the ticket sales. – Rappler.com
($1 = P44.74)
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