Investments in Mindanao heavy on power generation

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/23 June) – With power crisis plaguing Mindanao due to the El Niño dry spell, the bulk of investments poured into the island last year came from the power generation sector.

Power generation projects were more than one-third of the total investments, reaching P11.148 billion, propelled mainly by investments from Filipino corporations, according to the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the government socioeconomic planning unit in the island.

The sector shared P4.099 billion to the investments, contributed by the Mindanao Energy Systems, Inc. with its 18.9-megawatt mini-hydroelectric plant in Barangay Tablon, Cagayan de Oro City, and the acquisition of the two power barges in Barangay Sta. Ana, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte and Maco town, Compostela Valley, by the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine. Each power barge has a capacity of 100 megawatts.

The MinDA said there were 28 investment projects registered with the Board of Investments, with local investments getting more aggressive with P11.088 billion, a growth of 143 percent from the previous year. In 2009, investments by Filipino corporations amounted to P4.565 billion.

“The Board of Investments noted here recently a remarkable growth in local investments, indicating a more sustained and buoyant investment mood in the island-region,” the MinDA said.

Only one other manufacturing operation was registered last year, the Harbour Industrial Development Corp., which is engaged in making steel bars. It invested P1.947 billion for its plant in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

Other investments were the Pueblo de Oro Development Corp., Mountain Haven Development Inc., Commercial Lending House, Inc., Hemeni Land Corporation, Century Peak Corp., Marcventures Mining and Development Corp., and Shuley Mine Inc.

Slightly more than $1.5 million, or P60.323 million, came as foreign direct investments, with 53 percent contributed by CostaMex Inc., a Costa Rican-owned company operating in Dancagan, Bukidnon.

“Foreign investment has been on decline over the past three years while local investments regained momentum last year through the high-stake investments in various industries,” the MinDA added.

Total investment projects generated 2,703 jobs.

The MinDA said it expected the investments sector to continue its confidence in the viability of Mindanao this year, with prospects high in business process outsourcing “as software development companies, call centers, and other IT businesses are eyeing areas outside Metro Manila, in order to take advantage of cheaper labor costs and the dense populace of other islands, such as Mindanao.”

“Attractive investment incentives are in place, and industrial zones have been established to widen location options for investors, said Luwalhati Antonino, chairperson of the MinDA.

The MinDA disclosed that another Aboitiz subsidiary, the Hedcor, “already expressed their intent to invest roughly P8 billion worth of power plants in Compostella Valley, Davao Oriental, and Davao City.”

It added that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has disclosed that the country posted a 50.6 percent business confidence index for 2011, “which means that businessmen are now more confident with the nation’s capability to cope with the global financial crisis”, the MinDA said. (MindaNews)