DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/03 November) – The city is looking forward to the entry of more Japanese investors after a roadshow in Japan last month that promoted the place as another investment and tourism destination, Davao City Investment and Promotions Center (DCIPIC) Lemuel Ortonio said in an interview Friday.
The Davao City Investment and Tourism Roadshow took place in the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama and Tokyo from October 16-20.
Ortonio said the event revealed that the Japanese didn’t know Davao well, as the outbound business missions during the past administrations highlighted Manila, Cebu, Boracay and Palawan but not the cities of Mindanao.
“When they hear of the Philippines, they can only think of Manila, Cebu, Palawan and Boracay. They said when they hear of Davao, never could they relate it with Philippines. Every time the national government held a roadshow, it’s usually the four cities that were highlighted,” he said.
Companies participating in the roadshow included Anna’s Breeders Farm, Yovel Enterprises, Mindanao Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Damosa Land Inc., Eden Nature Park, Waterfront Insular Hotel and Alveo Land.
Ortonio said the roadshow was timely because President Rodrigo R. Duterte held a two-day working visit from October 29 to 31 in Japan where he met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, business leaders and Emperor Akihito.
Upon arrival Tuesday evening, Duterte announced he brought home business deals worth P309 billion with Japanese investors and a pledge of assistance from the Japanese government worth P456 billion.
But Ortonio said he is hoping they were able to stir the interests of Japanese investors sufficiently enough to convince them to do business in the city.
He added they are hopeful the city would receive its fair share of the assistance and investments from the Japanese.
During the four-day mission, he said they highlighted agriculture, tourism and recreational facilities, light manufacturing and assembly, and property development.
But he said they welcome investments in health and wellness, educational and sports facilities, environmental protection and green projects, information and communications technology, generation of new sources of energy, transportation and infrastructure and public-private partnerships.
The official said the business mission included a meeting with different representatives of local chambers of commerce and tourism associations, and a Tokyo-Davao City Business Forum that was organized in coordination with the Philippine Embassy in Japan.
“The Japanese were very appreciative because they saw what we in Davao City have to offer,” he said.
Ortonio said one of the highlights during the business-to-business meeting was the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Davao-based agribusiness firm Yovel Enterprise and manufacturing firm Bioactives Japan.
“Their partnership with Yovel Enterprise is for a post-harvest facility – post production – to make puree out of vegetables and fruits. But right now, they are still at a stage of conducting a feasibility and market study,” he said.
On tourism, he said City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson highlighted the different tourism sports in the city that are suited for the Japanese, including spas, golf courses and nature parks.
He said Tecson mentioned about the shared historical ties between Davao City and Japan.
A “Little Tokyo” is being developed in Mintal where around 30,000 Japanese lived before World War II.
The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) earmarked P120 million to build a heritage site right within “Little Tokyo.”
“I think, as mentioned to me by TIEZA, this will be the first project that will be put in the tourism map focusing on the good relationship between Japanese and Filipinos. If you go to other places, it’s more about the war. Here, it’s a different story,” said Mintal barangay chair Ramon M. Bargamento II. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)