Mindanao a potential investment destination, says BIMP-EAGA official

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 October) — Mindanao has a potential of becoming an investment destination, a top official of the Brunei, Darussalam-Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Trade and Investment Cluster said.

In an interview during the launch of the Department of Trade and Industry 11’s one-stop facility Ecofusion at the Abreeza of the Ayala Malls on Tuesday, Caybo Purnomo, acting chair of the BIMP-EAGA Trade and Investment Cluster, specifically cited tourism, processing, and agriculture as investment areas that can be marketed to other parts of the economic sub-region.

Purnomo, a member of Indonesia’s Board of Investments, said they are encouraging their businessmen to seize investment opportunities overseas, specifically in Mindanao.

“I’m also from the investment board of Indonesia. It is also part of our job to encourage the business people to invest overseas. Mindanao can be a good investment destination,” he said.

He lauded the initiative of putting up Ecofusion, a one-stop center that houses various products of Mindanao and Palawan, and has vital information on the investment potentials of both islands.

Ecofusion, which was launched in partnership with Davao Ecocrafts Association Inc., represents the three major development principles of the sub-region’s commitments such as ecological balance, eco-tourism and economic development.

Purnomo cited the role of the private sector in giving local products the much needed promotion so these can be upscaled for export.

Facilities such as the Ecofusion can be a good start to encourage them to sit down and discuss possible partnerships, he said.

“It is not easy to engage them in a formal meeting, not easy to invite them. Some of them are quite happy with the domestic demand and they have little interest to export because our domestic demand is quite big but through EAGA, we would like to let them know that if you can do, let’s say, business with Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei, then people will be encouraged to do international business,” he said.

The official added he envisions a free flow of goods among BIMP-EAGA nations, which is now being undertaken by the transportation cluster.

“We believe that each and every country can benefit from the EAGA. We would like to pursue our national interest but we need to listen from the provincial level. What are the many interests and goals that can be achieved through our national interests,” Purnomo said.

The transport cluster’s discussion might result in opening up of more routes but local governments must identify what their potentials are for export and the needed products for import, he said.

“The idea is how we can become more open to potential opportunities. But it takes two to tango, from our side, we need to work closer to our local government,” he said.

He said they have yet to come up with a timetable as to when the free flow of goods and investments should take place in the BIMP-EAGA. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)