Hijo Central, the newly-launched township project of Hijo Resources Corporation (HRC), is expected to generate around US$10 billion economic activity in Mindanao.
Launched Sunday, Hijo Central will be developed in a 132-hectare block within the sprawling 1,054 hectares HRC property in Madaum, Tagum Davao del Norte.
HRC Vice Chair and Chief Executive Officer Rosanna Tuason-Fores told media they see huge potential in the project due to the economic activities seen to be generated from port and logistics, leisure and tourism, agribusiness, property development, and renewable energy components of the project.
Fores added they are currently looking for locators and boutique investors to locate in Hijo Central. She added they are partnering with sustainable partners for power, water provider and telecommunications.
A smart city and hubs for food tech, bio tech, and agri tech are part of the plan.
“Smart cities are not just for technology. It is about building an ecosystem of smart people, smart place and smart planet. From. A farm to a smart city with Hijo Central at the core of it all,” Fores said. Hijo Central will include a digital agricultural marketplace, which is a disruptive platform that connects farmers to global customers.
In partnership with Kitchen Israel, Hijo Central will establish a food innovation hub where entrepreneurial ideas are exchanged, laboratories are available to test these ideas and academe and private support for commercialization to maximize value a growing food market.
For his part, Ramon Segismundo, president and chief operating officer of HRC, said in his message that Hijo Central will support agricultural modernization with farm initiatives, agricultural industrialization with the more than P600 million state-of-the-art banana and Coco sugar manufacturing facility.
Segismundo said they will also establish a digital agriculture in partnership with the IP farmers to uplift the lives of Filipino farmers.
Through a grant from the Department of Science and Technology (Dost), HRC is coming up with an app that will help farmers to get enough yield and quality of bananas. He said with the help of Israeli experts and in partnership with DOST they will be forming an agri start up that incubates agri ideas and commercializes practices in agriculture.
“If there is a silicon valley, there will be a DavNor Valley in agriculture. Hijo Central is the first smart and sustainability city in Tagum and part of the vast growing region in the Philippines, Metro Davao. We contribute to restore and rebuild the corals and mangrove in our ecosystem and all of these would not be possible without our pro-God, pro-poor, pro-environment leader Rossana Fores,” Segismundo said.
With a masterplan of 10 years, development of Hijo Central will be done in four phases.
Dr. Sujata S. Govada, CEO and managing director of Urban Design Planning International, the masterplan partner of HRC for the project said they have yet to finalize what should be done in the first phase.
“But land development has already started,” Fores said.
Fores also assured that the environment aspect will be protected as well as the rivers and the forest. In fact, 49 percent of the development will be devoted to green spaces while 51 percent is for saleable spaces.
“People, place, and planet concept is a smart City framework. Hijo Central will have a lot of space,” said Govada.
The HRC site is classified as Planned Unit Development Zone (PUD-Z) by the City of Tagum Comprehensive Development Zoning Ordinance. HRC was founded by the late Atty. Jose” Boy” Tuason Jr who acquired Hijo Plantation Inc.