Developer eyes ecozone in Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 August) – A property developer has signified interest in developing an economic zone in Davao City to attract more investors, a top executive of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) said in an interview Monday.

But DCCCII president Arturo Milan did not disclose the identity of the developer who they plan to connect with two landowners in the city’s District 2 before they would recommend to the city government the creation of an economic zone.

Milan said he hopes the city can provide fiscal and non-fiscal incentives not only for locators but also for developers to encourage more interested investors for economic zone development.

He said the city needs an economic zone to lure foreign and domestic investors to expand their operations here to ensure it will not miss on the investment opportunities now that the city has taken center stage.

“I strongly believe the more the city gets attractive if there are eco zones, industrial parks that are competitive. Do you know that we are competing with Cagayan de Oro, Cebu. Calabarzon is known for that. while we wanted to be attractive here, we have nothing to offer to them,” he added.

The city government currently offers incentives for private-led projects identified under the 10 preferred investments areas including agribusiness, tourism and recreational facilities.

“We are still trying our best to convince the two landowners whom we are talking with for the eco-zones but I am not yet at liberty to discuss it because it’s very early,”Milan said.

He said the developer wants a joint venture agreement with landowners because it would cost the company more to put up the eco-zone due to the skyrocketing land valuations here caused by the real estate boom.

“We were caught in the trend of increasing land prices. It would have been better if we do it much earlier but if we do it too early, it may be too advanced of its time,” he said.

He said the ideal location of the eco-zone is District 2 because it’s closer to Davao City International Airport and the seaports.

The city has 14 Philippine Economic Zone Authority-accredited areas – one manufacturing and two agro-industrial zones, and 11 information technology centers and parks.

The PEZA-accredited manufacturing area is the First Oriental Business and Industrial Park while the agro-industrial zones are AJMR Agro-Industrial Economic Zone and CIIF Agro-Industrial Park-Davao.

The IT Parks and centers are Luisa Avenue Square IT Center, Robinsons Cybergate Davao, Felcris Centrale, SM Lanang Premier IT Center, Abreeza Corporate Center, Ayala Business Center, Filandia IT Center, The Annex-SM City Davao IT Center, Damosa IT Park, and Matina IT Park. The NCCC Mall Davao’s IT center was PEZA-accredited facility before it burned on Dec. 23 last year.

A PEZA-accredited area enjoys fiscal (income tax holidays for four to six years) and non-fiscal incentives.

Non-fiscal incentives include simplified import-export procedures and employment of non-resident foreign nationals by PEZA-registered economic zone enterprises in supervisory, technical or advisory positions.

City Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said the urban center is already congested with ongoing developments that it might no longer accommodate economic zone developments and suggested instead Calinan, Toril, and Bunawan where there are plenty of spaces that can host eco zones.

He said a reclassification by the city council may be needed.

The investors must also look for locations in neighboring cities, he added.

“The city is already loaded. The new model of development should be continuing and comprehensive, we should not look at Davao as Davao City. We should look at Davao as Region 11. So we should not limit our participation and policymaking for Davao City but we should include Sta. Cruz (Davao del Sur) and Panabo (Davao del Norte). Whether we like it or not, we cannot start here anymore in Davao because we are already loaded,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)