Davao iCon to push through despite martial law

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 June) – Organizers of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) will push through with the Davao Investment Conference (Davao iCon) on July 21 to 22 wherein some European investors and top executives of the Philippines’s largest companies have committed to participate.

Art Millan, chairperson of the Davao iCon who is also trustee of DCCCII, said the businessmen’s two-day gathering will push through despite the negative perceptions of martial law in Mindanao.

“Amid the negative perceptions about the declaration of martial law, we should be in the forefront of showing that nothing has changed and business as usual in Davao,” he said.

Millan said delegations from the British Chamber of Commerce and European Union Chamber of Commerce have already committed to participate in the investment conference.

Among the country’s top companies that will participate include San Miguel Corp., Lafarge Holcim, AboitizPower, MVP Group of Companies, BDO, Landbank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, Security Bank, Metrobank, Globe Telecommunications, Anflocor, and 8990 Housing Development Corp.

Millan said they are expecting 700 participants during the event.

Different executives of the local government units and top government officials will also participate, he said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte is expected to grace the second day of the conference.

“So far, we have not received any advice of backing out but we in the organizing committee are pursuing to proceed with the Davao Investment Conference. The one who should allay the fears prevailing in the country with regard to the proclamation of Martial law, it should be us in Davao. We should not fear to define our lives here,” he said.

Millan, who is consultant for Mindanao of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, said the impact of martial law is short term because the investor will always look at the long-term opportunities here in Mindanao.

“We do not make investment decision because it’s martial law. We look at opportunity on a longer timeframe,” he said.

For the Davao iCon, Millan said that they would focus on agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and infrastructure to balance the investment profile in the city that is more focused on the service sector.

“We need to balance our investment profile [and go into] agriculture and manufacturing where income is generated to support the service sector in terms of spending,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)