Envoy eyes more Chinese investors, tourists to Davao

Li made the pronouncement while meeting Vice Mayor Luis Bonguyan in a courtesy call Monday at the city mayor’s office.

The ambassador, who first passed by Zamboanga in his first visit to Mindanao, is in town to meet Davao's Filipino-Chinese community and to “see for himself the local economic and security situation in the city.”

Speaking through an interpreter, Li said many Chinese businessmen wanted to invest in Mindanao but are worried by the negative reports they have heard.

But he said his visit will change the wrong impression his countrymen harbor. “I am impressed with this beautiful city,” Li told Bonguyan.

"Davao is safer and more secure than Manila," Li said.

He said many businessmen from mainland China are waiting for results of his visit so they could start exploring the possibility of investing in Davao.

He cited Davao’s role in the future of economic development in Mindanao and the country. He said they are willing to cooperate in the BIMP-East Asia Growth Area “where Davao plays a big role.”

Li said a group of businessmen are eyeing to put up an industrial park in Davao City.

He also cited a plan to encourage more Chinese airlines to establish direct routes to Davao as his country has a lot of tourists wanting to come.

Bonguyan said even if Davao gets only a small percentage of the Chinese tourists, it would already be good enough, considering that Chinese tourists reach millions.

The vice mayor said Davao is exerting efforts to establish sisterhood ties with Naning, China. The Naning mayor visited Davao last April. It was in Naning where the Asean China Expo 2004 was held last year where a Mindanao delegation was sent.

Bonguyan told Li the Filipino-Chinese community in Davao plays a big part in the city’s economy, with many of them in control of many industries.

He also announced the approval of the city ordinance detailing the creation the city’s Chinatown district to “give more importance to the culture and the role of the Filipino-Chinese community” in Davao. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)