AS it marks its 72nd foundation day, Davao City continues to enjoy its reputation as one of the most progressive local economies in the Philippines and the East Asian countries.
The influx of private investments, which steadily grew in the last two decades, has further strengthened Davao City’s position as among the vibrant commercial hubs in the country.
The city has shifted counting investments from the millions of pesos in the ‘80s to billions in the ‘90s and up to the new millennium.
Among Asian cities, Davao has maintained its competitive position in attracting investments and in penetrating new foreign markets owing to its resilient exports base, peaceful business climate, better quality of life, and rich pool of skilled workforce.
With over 1.4-Million people as primary market base, the city is conducive to business as evidenced by the presence of the country’s top 200 companies.
Inflow of investments has been remarkable in the last ten years. Export in the City is now billion dollar industry with a growing niche market for its products.
The stable banana and flourishing pineapple industries are among the country’s leading export commodities. A net exporter since 1987, Davao City largely contributed in making the Philippines as the world’s top 3 banana exporter.
Primarily an agricultural area, almost all kinds of fruits thrive in Davao including the exotic Durian. Other major agriculture-based exports are pomelo, mango, coconut, papaya, mangoosten, and even flowers.
The productive linkages between established businesses and Davao City community reinforced the competitive quality of life in a city that has consistently maintained single digit inflation rate since 1993.
Along with flourishing investments and exports, the low inflation rate serve as concrete illustration of the remarkable gains from Davao City’s sustained competitiveness nurtured by high level of responsiveness of the local government which put priority focus in facilitating business-friendly initiatives and in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous environment.
Among its comparative advantages is the established linkages and accessibility.
Davao City is strategically located in Souther Philippines. It has air and sea linkages to major points of destination in the country and the rest of the world. Goods and people can also be transported by land via the Philippine-Japan Friendship highway.
The new Davao International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the Philippines with daily flights to major destinations in the country. Davao City also serves as your gateway to the sub-regional trade bloc known as the East ASEAN growth area with direct flights to Singapore and Indonesia. Modern infrastructure and facilities present in the City provide businessmen access to the 25 million market of Mindanao and the 56 million market of the BIMP-EAGA.
Davao City is also blessed with perfect weather. It is situated in a typhoon-free zone. The all-year round predictability of its tropical weather (sunshine by day and occasional rain showers by night) makes the place conducive for business, leisure, agriculture and other worthwhile activities.
The city is also equipped with efficient public utilities. It has excellent public utilities that offer the best products and services. There is abundance in the supply of (piped) potable water.
There is availability of cost-efficient electricity through hydropower generation. 24-hours a day power is assured by the able distribution of Davao Light with the availability of a back-up generation plant. State-of-the-art telecommunications facilities connect its people to the rest of the world.
Players in the telecommunications industry (phone companies, Internet Service Providers, Cable-TV, computer vendors) have continually offered new products, services and innovations to keep the people abreast with the latest and even ahead.
Davao City is also host to regional centers and headquarters of government and private agencies whose scope of operational jurisdiction covers Southern Philippines or the island of Mindanao. This is the reason why many organizations consider the City as the de facto capital of Mindanao.
It is considered as the financial center of the Mindanao Island with more than 1,000 institutions classified as banks, non-bank financing, and lending agencies.
The city is also the center for learning, education, and trainings in Mindanao with 39 tertiary education institutions classified as universities (including the University of the Philippines-Mindanao), colleges, and technical schools that regularly supply the City of needed expertise and manpower.
Davao City is also touted as the one of the most peaceful cities in Asia with a monthly crime index of 0.8 cases per 10,000 persons per month. Its Davao Police Office is a consistent top pick for the Country’s Best Police Office Award. The City has also established the 911 central communications and emergency response center in 2002 to lessen crime incidences as well as preserve lives and properties.
Its comparative advantages are further strengthened by its competitive cost of doing business. In Davao City, quality products and services do not necessarily equate to high cost. Almost everything of quality in Davao City costs cheaper compared to other major cities. Rates of public utilities, real estate, rentals for commercial spaces, accommodations, labor, raw materials, and other business related inputs are comparatively cheaper than other major cities in Asia. This factor is seen vital in achieving a healthy return on investments.
In terms of human resources, the city is home to the best professionals and laborers in Southern Philippines. Its human resources are touted as competent, highly literate, English-speaking and very cost-effective. Davao is the biggest producer of engineers, computer programmers, medical practitioners, accountants, lawyers, and other skilled labor in the region.
It is also considered as the fruit basket of the country as almost all kinds of fruits grow in abundance in the City. It is host to a lot of fruit plantations and it is famous for its exotic Durian.
Davao City is one of the biggest exporters of banana in Asia. Other fresh produce includes delectable delights such as the pomelo, mango, mangosteen, rambutan, strawberry, lanzones, and pineapple among others. Aside from this edge, the City functions as the trade-off point of Mindanao’s high value crops.
As an investor-friendly city, investors are well taken cared of in Davao City. Being the pioneer city in establishing an investment promotion center that provides free professional assistance including processing of applications for local fiscal incentives, the local government sees to it that investors are provided the red carpet in starting business as easy as possible.
Topping all its comparative advantages is the responsive and forward-looking local government. The City Government of Davao is very positive on developmental projects. Infrastructure modernizations such as international standard airport, roads, bridges, and seaports are being done in response to the present challenges of the new millennium.
The city’s goals, thrusts, and programs are being guided by the fundamental principles of sustainable development. Under the Comprehensive Development Plan for 1996-2021, the city’s priorities are: peace and order; health; environment; education and social services; shelter; livelihood; infrastructure; agriculture and fishery development; investment and tourism; revenue enhancement; sports development; and good governance.