DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 07 January) — The newly elected president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) is optimistic that the city will sustain its growth in 2018 and that it will be a favorable year for the business community.
“I’m optimistic that business will be favorable in Davao for 2018,” DCCCII president Arturo Milan said in a text message on Sunday.
Milan said the growth will be triggered by strong tourism, expansion of the Information Communications Technology (ICT), and the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program, a 2017-2022 massive infrastructure initiative worth P8 trillion to P9 trillion.
Under this program, the government “lists down high impact projects that envision to increase the productive capacity of the economy, create jobs, increase incomes, and strengthen the investment climate leading to sustained inclusive growth.”
Lemuel Ortonio, chief of the Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPIC) said the local economy remained bullish in 2017 despite the proclamation of martial law and suspension of writ of habeas corpus all over Mindanao on May 23, its extension until December 31, 2017 and yet another extension until December 31, 2018.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on May 23, 2017, Day 1 of what turned out to be a five-month siege. The President declared Marawi City “liberated from the terrorist influence” on October 17, 2017.
Records from DCIPC showed that investments that entered the city after the May 23 declaration of martial law totaled P493.14 million coming from real estate and agri-industrial projects. The amount is twice higher compared with the total capitalization worth P230.83 million recorded for the entire 2016.
These new investments came from Urbaneast Developments, Inc., developer of Altezza Grande worth P166.887 million; Davao South Feedmill Corp. for the development of Animal Fedmill Plant worth P181.250 million; and, Davao Thermo Biotech Corporation, developer of a P145-million Biodegradable Waste to Fertilizer project.
Ortonio added they are getting numerous inquiries from potential investors, which show that the “confidence in the peace and order situation of Davao City and its viability as an investment location has gained ground again.”
The local investment chief admitted the peace and order situation and the martial law declaration initially put investors on a “wait-and-see mode” during the first few weeks.
He added they address those concerns by providing prospective investors with a “picture on how martial law is implemented” and that its implementation is “far from being abusive.”
“Also, we tell them that the crime rate in Davao City remains to be among the lowest in the country and has actually decreased since the declaration of Martial Law,” he said.
Ortonio added investments in the city might have been bigger if Mindanao was not placed under Martial law but the city government “will always support and uphold directives set by the national government to ensure the safety and security of the general public.”
President Duterte served as mayor of Davao City for 22 years. The incumbent mayor is his daughter Sara, who was Vice Mayor from 2007 to 2010 and mayor from 2010 to 2013.
Ortonio said they envision the city to be “keeping up with the global trends” and a city that has more convenient business districts and industrial estates.
“But beyond becoming a highly progressive city, we envision a city that maintains a balanced mix of both rural and urban amenities — a characteristic that Davao City has been proud of and known for,” he said.
Ortonio added there are a number of big-ticket projects in the city from private and public sectors, and even foreign investors.
Upcoming private investments include Azuela Cove, a 25-hectare waterside mixed-use development; MesaTierra Garden Residences, a condominium project of Cebu Landmasters, Inc. in partnership with Davao based Plaza De Luisa Development Corp.; Peak Parksuites, a high-rise twin-tower condominium project of Anchor Land Holdings, Inc. (ALHI), in partnership with Plaza De Luisa Development Corp.; Obsidian Suites and Ivory Residences, a project of Santos Land Development Corp; and, Dusit Thani Residences.
The upcoming government projects include school building worth P25 million for the Bolton Elem. School; New Museo Dabawenyo Building worth P100 million; four-story Davao City Investment and Tourism Building worth P50 million; and Davao City Coastal Road project.
An undisclosed Japanese investor is planning to put up a chocolate manufacturing plant while Bio Actives Japan Corp., a fruit/vegetable processing plant in Toril; Otooro, a South Korean firm also plans to set up a manufacturing plant for air-conditioning systems in the city; and, South Korean and Chinese investors want to put up a Light Rail Transit/Mono Rail Transit in the urban center of the city. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)