Martial law to dampen Davao City’s economic performance

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 June) – The city’s economic performance will experience a slowdown for the rest of the year owing to the state of martial law in Mindanao, Lemuel Ortonio, chief of the Davao City Investment Promotion Office (DCIPC), said Friday.

But Ortonio expressed optimism the city, which posted an slight increase in investments in the first quarter of 2017, will recover.

He said that on May 30 he met with a group of Chinese investors and noted that their interest to put up parks, accommodation and tourism facilities remained “high”.

He claimed that the declaration of martial law in Mindanao did not bother the prospective investors at all.

He added his office continued to get inquiries on local investment opportunities.

“I don’t think there will be much of an impact. It’s still normal in the first few days or even in first few weeks. In the long run, I don’t think it will have an impact, we know the national government is doing their best to address the situation,” he said.

Ortonio added his office has not received reports of investments being canceled.

But he admitted that information communications technology industry players were wary of the “lockdown” and curfew because they operate at night and some of their workers live outside of the city.

He said it was now clear to them that the lockdown was reduced to “hold and secure” with an accompanying 30-point guidelines to residents and no curfew was implemented.

“We did not receive any information they they lost clients. We did not receive any reports of potential investors backing out in the city,” he said.

He said he is confident the city can attain its target by end-2017 because it offers diverse opportunities to investors, although the Marawi incident has caused an impact on the city.

He emphasized it’s safer in the city now due to the tighter security.

Investments in Davao City surged to P230,233.76 billion in the first quarter of 2017, or 1.77-percent higher compared to P226.138.80 billion recorded in the same period last year.

Data released by the DCIPC showed the number of businesses here also increased to 36,441 in the first quarter from 34,324 recorded in the same period of 2016.

Ortonio attributed the growth to an improved investors’ confidence owing to good governance and peace and security condition.

“I always say we have the right mix needed to put up business — peace and security, cheap labor cost but quality skills, and our cost of doing business compared with Manila and Cebu is very competitive,” he said.

He added the city government has improved the process of doing business with the streamlining of business registrations at the City’s Business Bureau.

He also attributed the increase to the efforts of the City Tourism Office in inviting foreign investors to build more tourist facilities to accommodate the growing number of tourists in the city.

Tourist arrivals grew in the first quarter this year with 459,104 compared to 405,576 for the same period in 2016. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)