Sarangani town braces for influx of investments

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/26 October) — The coastal town of Maasim in nearby Sarangani Province is gearing for the entry of more major investments with the projected completion in two years of the Alcantara-led P13 billion coal-fired power plant.

Maasim Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr. said a number of investors have started looking at the area’s prime coastal estates for possible business ventures that would complement the operation by 2015 of the coal plant being built by the Sarangani Energy Corp. (SEC) in Barangay Kamanga.

The company has started the construction of the 210-megawatt coal plant, with the first phase targeted to run in 2015 with a capacity of 105 MW.

SEC, which is controlled by Conal Holdings Corp., is a subsidiary of the Alcantara Group’s Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc.

“There has been a consistent rise in employment in the area due to the influx of investors,” the mayor said in a statement.

He said they expect that such developments will not only uplift the living condition of their poor constituents but also boost the local economy.

Citing the SEC project, Lopez said around 500 town-based skilled workers and laborers have been hired and it resulted to an increase of 120 percent in their local revenue collection so far.

“This is a great indication that our town will soon be in place as one of the leaders of progress in Sarangani,” said Lopez.

Aside from the coal-fired power plant project, he said that another group of businessmen recently visited his town to explore the potential of putting up a P30 million aggregate crushing plant.

Larry Asparin, Sarangani tourism officer, earlier disclosed that a resort based in Barangay Tinoto in Maasim is also planning to invest around P30 million for a major expansion.

Such move was mainly aimed to complement the projected influx of visitors to the area due to the operationalization of the nearby coal-fired power plant, he said.

The coal power plant, which is located near a world-class scuba diving spot, is strongly opposed by environmental and religious groups on concerns over the environment and human health.

Parts of Barangays Tinoto and Siguel in Maasim have thrived in the past several months also due to the identification of the area as a world-class paragliding spot.

The area recently hosted a fun paraglide that was joined by enthusiasts from Japan, Korea and Indonesia.

The provincial government is set to host in March next year an international paragliding competition in the area. (MindaNews)