Davao’s ICT prexy calls for the passage of BBL

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 Aug) – An executive of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Davao said the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will attract more investors to come to Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

In an interview on Wednesday at the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Chief Executive Officers’ Conference during the Livelihood Exchange (Livex Exchange) Philippines 2015, ICT Davao president Atty. Samuel Matunog said economic development cannot prosper in the autonomous region if the peace process cannot be sustained.

“The BBL is a good start. It will keep the (development) projects away from the violence,” he said.

The entry of the $300-million Best submarine fiber optic cable project will keep the influx of businesses to ARMM as the business confidence among the investors improves, Matunog said.

“This is a large amount of money. If conflicts continue, it’s not a good environment for investors,” he said.

Matunog added that ICT Davao is supporting all initiatives to attain peace in Mindanao.

Earlier, ICT Davao vice president Lizabel Holganza cited the need for ARMM to develop local talents in order to sustain the operations of the companies who are planning to invest there that will promote growth in Mindanao.

In her message, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) secretary Luwalhati Antonino said the island has maintained a resilient economy posting a 7.4 percent growth in 2014, higher than the 6.1 percent national growth.

“The positive performance is attributed to the solid growth of the industry sector, with an increase of 10.7 percent last year and the strong contribution of the services sector, of which many of you (ICT sector) are part of, that grew by 7.5 percent,” she said.

Antonino also noted an increase in the Internet access for private sector establishments in Mindanao at 83.1 percent. She mentioned about the Mindanao Corridors Development Program which reinforces the “enabling business environment for sustained trade within BIMP-EAGA, among the ASEAN and the rest of the world.”

The official emphasized to vigorously pursue an innovation and start-up ecosystem in Mindanao to ride on the increasing trend within the sub-region. To do this, investments should be aimed at the creation and empowerment of more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that support ICT industry, Antonino said.

“By pursuing SME empowerment, we will become more inclusive as we utilize technology to address the challenges and constraints in other industry sectors,” she said.

She said the corridors program has laid various strategies to increase the competitiveness of Mindanao and Palawan through infrastructure development and logistics services.

“Among the island groups in the Philippines, Mindanao got the second largest share in terms of public expenditures in infrastructure at 28.2 percent or P21.5 billion in 2014,” Antonino said.

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