South African, UK diplomats coming to Davao for trade talks

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/06 March) – Ambassadors from South Africa and the United Kingdom will meet Davao City business leaders to discuss ways to further trade and investments between the city and the two countries.

Speaking in Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw, Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) president Ronald Go said he hopes the meetings with the ambassadors will translate to more investments that will generate more opportunities here.

“We will discuss different investments that could come in, especially for their businessmen eventually coming here. Probably, this will be a precursor to maybe bringing British or South African businessmen to come here and really have a look at Davao and see what they can really do here,” he said.

Since January 2017, three ambassadors – from Indonesia, Pakistan, and Australia – have visited the city and met with business leaders to find areas of investment.

“Basically, that’s what it’s all been about how we can increase trade,” Go said.

“More and more meetings between businessmen will come about. We found it is through business to business meetings that opportunities are covered and these opportunities become reality,” he added.

Arturo Milan, a trustee of DCCCII and executive vice president of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, said that the city has to seize these opportunities because it never got this deluge of interests from foreign investors.

Before its long-time mayor was elected as the country’s 17th president, he said a lot of negative things about security in the city due to the insurgency problems in some areas of Mindanao.

“The perception before was negative because of the security issue, considering Davao City was the dateline of the stories. That’s why, we need to take advantage of this opportunity. Many of the investors who came here realized that what they have felt before was really nothing in terms of security issue,” he said.

This growing interest in the city prompted the chamber to hold the 4th Investment Conference (iCon) on July 21 to 22 at the SMX Convention Center here to further highlight the potentials not only of the city but also of the Davao Region to potential investors, he said

This year’s Davao iCon aims to showcase current investment trends and opportunities in infrastructures and connectivity, tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture, he said.

Results of the citywide study conducted by the University of Mindanao’s Institute of Popular Opinion showed that 81 percent of the respondents believe that private investments have improved under a Duterte presidency.

Sixty-two percent of Dabawenyos believe the Duterte presidency is totally good for Davao City.

Conducted on 1,200 respondents from February 14 to 22, the study on “Duterte’s Presidency’s impact to Davao City” also found out that 19 percent of the respondents believe there is positive impact but with minor discomfort; 14 percent indicate the impact is good but not as helpful to them; 5 percent believe the change adversely affected them.

The study showed that 70 percent of the respondents believe Duterte’s presidency is beneficial to tourism.

“Seven in ten Dabawenyos appreciate the impact of the Duterte presidency to Davao tourism which is highly observable given the number of conventions and conferences both national and international being held in Davao City. This created income multiplier in the economy of Davao City,” it said.

Sixty-seven percent said peace and order improved further with more “intensive police visibility and low criminality in the city.”

“Also, the concept of ‘tokhang’ (tuktok hangyo or “knock and plead”) of the local police which is now applied in the whole country is seen as familiar and deemed effective in the city,” it added.

Respondents agreed that infrastructure development (60 percent), employment opportunities (61 percent), social services (60 percent), and livelihood (78 percent) are among the areas that improved as well.

“Six in every 10 Dabawenyos see positive impact on these areas since RRD became president,” it said.

However, the study said traffic situation, informal settlers and asset/property values are among the critical areas which the public believed have experienced adverse changes. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)