Mindanao business sector still upbeat on Mindanao economy following Zamboanga crisis

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Mindanao’s business sector expressed confidence that Mindanao’s economy will bounce back following the resolution of the Zamboanga crisis, particularly that situation in the city is now returning to normalcy.

Daniel Lim, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) said that Mindanao would definitely overcome the negative effects of the Zamboanga siege.

“We will certainly survive from this crisis. This may slow down our growth, but it will definitely not stop Mindanao from growing,” he said while adding “the incident may have caused Mindanao to step back in terms of economic growth, but we will move forward again.”

He said that there is no guarantee that this incident will not happen again, but believed that development will prevail with more people favoring peace and economic stability, after seeing the effects of the crisis in Zamboanga.

DCCCII was the lead organizer of the recently concluded 22nd Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) held in August this year, which gathered the region’s business chambers and convened more than 800 key business players from across Mindanao.

“Business chambers should be vocal against and must not be cowed by acts of terrorism, Lim said while adding “chambers must be more upfront in condemning these acts, and express full support to other cities whenever similar incidents happen.”

Efren Uy, president of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CDOCI) said “Mindanao’s economy will take a rebound from the crisis with members of the region’s chambers working as one powerful force.”

“As long as members of the chambers and the private sector will seriously commit for the continuous promotion of Mindanao and its investment attractions, we will surmount this crisis,” he added.

DCCCII’s Lim also applauded the Philippine government for its successful handling of the Zamboanga incident and admired its deliberate intent to solve the crisis with a lesser number of casualties among civilians.

“I commend the government in handling the crisis in the most humane manner that may have required them a longer time to solve, but ensured the safety of the most number of civilians,” he said.

Ricardo Juliano, vice president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) supported Lim’s assessment of the handling of the crisis and said that the siege was managed decisively.

“I am glad that the government didn’t give a ‘free pass’ to the rebels similar to what happened during the Kabatangan hostage-taking incident in 2001, also in Zamboanga City,” he added.

Rodolfo Menes, regional governor of PCCI Northern Mindanao said the PCCI and local chambers are now focusing on investment promotion initiatives towards a peaceful Mindanao.

“We will collaborate with the Aquino government in ensuring that what we have gained for the past years will not all be lost because of this incident,” he added.

Raymund Salangsang, president of the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (GSCCCII) calls for Mindanawons to pursue the quest for peace in order for Mindanao for fully achieve its economic potentials.

“We must be serious about the peace process and secure lasting and sustainable peace in the region for us to move forward and secure our economic gains,” he added.

The GSCCI will be hosting next year’s MinBizCon, which promises to also showcase the vast business potentials and opportunities in Mindanao, particularly the Socsksargen Region.

“As for our part, we will continue to deepen our engagement and development efforts for the best interest of our city and region, as we push for a more peaceful Mindanao,” he said.

Mindanao Development Authority Chair Luwalhati Antonino said that focus right now will move towards rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged communities in Zamboanga City.

She added that MinDA is looking at the larger picture in pushing for long-range development in the area, which just last year posted the highest economic growth rate among 17 regions in the country.

Based on earlier reports, the city suffered an estimated economic daily loss of P331.37 million pesos due to the crisis that also resulted to damages that cover total or partial destruction of physical assets existing in the affected area. #