Despite bombings, Mindanao still the place for investors

Nicasio Angelo Agustin, NEDA Southeastern Mindanao regional director, said the island has the resources especially the raw materials, the competence and the skills of people needed to support for new investments. He said investors are not scared away by the bomb explosions.

Agustin said the peace and order situation may be important, but was a secondary consideration.

He said the conflicts and violence in Mindanao were "very localized" situations although he warned that if a city in Mindanao suffered the negative effect of bomb explosions, neighboring cities would benefit.

He said investors who wanted to put up business in General Santos City for example, may decide to put it in Davao or Cagayan de Oro.  

Agustin led a team of NEDA officials who briefed the media on the economic performance in 2006 and the 2007 development outlook for the region at the Kapihan sa PIA today.

Agustin, said however, that the bombings and the pending status of the peace process have affected the flow of investments to Mindanao.

He said the bombings would not only project a negative perception over loss of lives and the opportunity cost of going to war or being on alert with security measures. It would also entail “great direct costs of conflicts, which could affect spending for other development interventions”.

He said Mindanao would have generated at least 25 percent higher investments if the bombings never happened. But he said it was “difficult to quantify the effect of violence”.

In 2006, NEDA reported that southeastern Mindanao registered a sluggish growth in investments. There was growth, he said, but it still lagged behind the growth experienced in 2005, which he attributed to high public investment by the government. In the first three quarters of 2006, investor commitments, as reflected  in the value of Board of Investment-registered projects, were down by 61.3 percent compared to the 2005 level at P2.4 billion. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)