DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 7 December 2017) – The five-month long fighting between government forces and Islamic State-inspired militants in Marawi City won’t slow down the economic performance of Mindanao in 2018, Mindanao Development Authority executive deputy director Romeo Montenegro said.
In an interview Tuesday, Montenegro said the Marawi siege was seen as a “temporary setback” that did not “necessarily translate to withdrawal of investments.”
He added the incident would not decelerate the output of Mindanao as Marawi and neighboring areas of Lanao del Sur are not considered among the major agricultural areas of Mindanao.
The island’s rosy economic performance is propelled by industry and service sectors, he said.
“If there has been a significant reduction in the area, it did not create much dent on the overall Mindanao output,” Montenegro said.
He claimed that they see a resurgence of investors’ confidence partly due to how the government handled the security situation and contained the conflict in Marawi.
Montenegro said they believe Mindanao is getting “back on track” as has again generated foreign and domestic investments following the end of the Marawi siege.
He said the military prevented the “feared spillover effects in several other major urban centers of Mindanao.”
“It helped also that martial law was in place in Mindanao to make sure mechanisms are activated to detect any possible threats emerging in some parts of Mindanao arising from the Marawi situation,” he added.
Duterte declared a 60-day martial law on May 23 in response to the attack of the militants in Marawi. Congress approved his proposal to have it extended until December 31 this year.
Montenegro added it is important that government implement a “more integrated and meaningful Marawi reconstruction and development,” to ensure the city’s recovery.
“We look forward to seeing the kind of Marawi restored to that glory once reconstruction and development is completed and ensuring that Marawi and Lanao area is able to perform in major role economically in the greater context of Mindanao development in the near future,” he said.
In a press release on December 5, the Department of Finance said officials from the Asian Development Bank assured the Philippine government of its support to the quick recovery and reconstruction efforts in Marawi City through its $225,000-million technical assistance and another $5 million from its Urban Resilience Fund.
Besides the industry and service sectors, Montenegro added the construction sector will continue to be a major contributor to the growth of Mindanao, owing to a better power situation in the island.
The agriculture sector is also expected to grow, on the back of a growing demand for commodities globally such as cacao, he said.
“Our agricultural performance in spite of challenges in global fronts had been able to demonstrate positive performance. Our agricultural exports continue to perform strongly in Mindanao,” he said.
He said Mindanao’s growth mirrored the general performance of the Philippines for the first three quarters. As of third quarter of 2017, the Philippines posted 7.1 percent in gross domestic product, higher than the 6.7 percent recorded in the second quarter. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)