Minda: No investment slowdown in Mindanao

The Mindanao Development Authority sees no slowdown in investments and projects in Mindanao even as it remains optimistic to meet growth target amid the crisis in Marawi.

This, according to Minda assistant secretary Romeo Montenegro, who said that there has been no indication of slowing down or suspension of any investment projects on the island. In fact, there is also no report of production decline for agricultural exports from Mindanao.

“Across many areas of investments there had been no indicated slowdown or suspension of any investment projects resulting from the Marawi incident and there had been no specific reports of slowdown of production of many of our agri exports and some other products and the services sector,” he said.

But Montenegro admitted the tourism is obviously affected. All other economic activities have remained generally “business as usual”, he said.

Montenegro said the business sector also plans to push specific efforts to bring back confidence of investors to do investments and economic activities in Mindanao.

He said they are reviving their efforts to undertake investment missions and trade promotion to provide an overall Mindanao situation because “what our potential investors might be reading abroad are stories that do not necessarily capture the full context of the island”.

Mindanao is going to be part of an investment promotion undertakings of the Philippine Investment Promotion Program (PIPP), a group under the purview of the Board of Investments of the Department of Trade and Industry consisting of all investment promotion agencies in the country. Among them are Subic Bay, Clark Development and for Mindanao it will be composed of MinDA, the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao, Board of Investment, and the Zambo Ecozone and others.

He said this is an annual undertaking of the PIPP to roll out investment promotions activities in specific targeted markets.

For this month, Montenegro said, the group will be going to South Korea for investment promotion activities. “Our role there is to make sure that Mindanao is given a slot in terms of investment promotion activities and conduct briefing so that we will be able to convey the situation in Mindanao on its current context and the investment opportunity that remain vibrant and available despite of what has happened in Marawi.

Future activities will be conducted in August in Australia at Brisbane, Sidney, and Melbourne, and Naning, China in September that anchor on the Philippines participation to the Annual China Asean Expo (CAEx)

He said every year Philippines has always been given an opportunity to promote investment opportunities and this time around we would want that Mindanao be part of the entire message of investment promotion.

Meanwhile, Montenegro said the rest of Mindanao continues to promote for specific investments because the production side had not been affected for many of the economic activities.

Initiatives are being done in the light of pursuing more investments with an enabling environment conducive for growth in Mindanao.

Montenegro said more allocation of support from the national government is pursued for infrastructure projects and other related activities to sustain and meet targets.

Under the Mindanao Development Corridors Program, Montenegro said they are laying the ground for an enabling environment conducive to economic growth such as good roads for faster movement of our goods, commodities and people.

For 2017 as a result of joint planning and programming with MinDA and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Mindanao secured the approval of 25 projects particularly in the areas of roads, bridges, and flood control projects totalling PHP17 Billion.

A continuing allocation for 15 of this year’s 25 approved projects for allocation in 2018 for a total of PHP12 Billion.

Montenegro said they have yet to start joint planning and programming with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) particularly on ports and airports development in Mindanao. (Digna D. Banzon/PNA)