DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 Feb) – The peace and order situation in Compostela Valley has made businesses wary of investing in the province, an official of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 11 said Monday.
In an interview, DTI-ComVal provincial director Lawyer Siegfred M. Balleque said the province needs to improve its peace and order situation if it wants to become a prime investment destination in Davao Region and realize its full economic potential.
“In Comval, there is NPA problem. That’s one of the challenges that we hope the government will solve. Peace and order is one of the factors that are being considered by the investor,” he said.
Balleque added investors would want to make sure to sustain their businesses and recover investments but added the insurgency problem in the province would make them wary of entering the province.
But he said they continue to promote the province’s potentials such as agri-business, tourism, aquaculture and “green mining” through the staging of a biennial Comval Business and Investment Conference (Biz-Con).
He said around 350 investors and sellers are expected to participate in Biz-Con on March 5, a gathering of industry players that share common interests, exchange new information and experiences. It also serves as a strategic avenue to learn best practices.
This year’s conference will highlight aquaculture, banana, cacao, coffee, tourism, and green mining.
Themed “Enriching the growing business and investment opportunities in Comval,” Balleque said the program is “an investment promotions strategy of the province primarily to promote potential investment areas that are gaining ground and are continuously providing jobs and income for the community.”
He added they are staging the second Biz-con in order to sustain the investment promotion efforts that have been done in the province.
Aside from the conference, a one-day plenary session on various opportunities, industry trends and status and market and financing facilitation, there will also be market matching and trade fair exhibit.
The market matching is a meeting of suppliers and buyers to facilitate arrangements for possible future supply of the prospective markets while the exhibit showcases the province’s premier processed products.
The event aims to increase investments in the featured priority investment areas, layout viable strategies that can further its promotion and attract more investors, develop new products and maximize abundant raw materials for processing and value-adding, create new markets and maximize existing ones, and provide avenue for stakeholders to discuss issues and concerns as well as exchange information and successes.
Ecozone in Maco
Balleque said they are eyeing to build a 60-hectare industrial economic zone in Maco townto boost the potentials of the province, considering their export agricultural produce and efforts to attract investors.
He said the facility can be built near the Maco Port, which can be developed into an international port as a requirement for economic zones.
“It’s very important because if we have an economic zone, the locators will be given incentives – PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone Authority) incentives. We need a port so it is easy for investors especially export companies to export their products,” he explained.
He said it will be run either by government or a private firm.
A PEZA-accredited area enjoys income tax holidays for four to six years as well as non-fiscal incentives.
Non-fiscal incentives include simplified import-export procedures; employment of non-resident foreign nationals in supervisory, technical or advisory positions; and special non-immigrant visa with multiple entry privileges for non-resident foreign nationals that include investors, officers, and employees in supervisory, technical or advisory position, and their spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age.
Balleque said they have already talked with private developers who might be interested to invest in the economic zone. One of them is a Lucio Tan-led company that plans to build a distillery in their vast land in Maco.
He said they hope to realize the project in five years. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)