DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 July) – The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Council in Davao City wants the Duterte administration to work on improving the internet speed in order to attract more foreign investors in the city.
“If it’s fast, we want something faster,” said ICT Council corporate secretary Belinda Torres, who is also vice president of Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII), the biggest organization run by the private sector here.
Aside from improving the speed, she said they also want a more affordable and more reliable connection by introducing more players in the market “so we can have more options.”
But Torres also acknowledged the current efforts of the giant telephone companies, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, to offer a better service to their clients by improving their signal throughout the country.
“I think they are doing all their best to provide us with better connectivity and to ensure that we won’t have drop calls anymore. But we pursue to have better connectivity through the technology they are putting in place,” she said.
After Duterte’s ascension to the presidency, Torres said they have observed more interested players from the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) who are interested to invest in the city.
DCCCII trustee Arturo Milan cited the importance of internet connectivity in getting more business players to locate here, other than stable power supply, air linkage, and ease of doing business.
Milan added that they called on the government to transfer some international flights from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to F. Bangoy International Airport here, as it is more practical and faster to travel to destinations like Australia and some ASEAN neighbors if airlines take off from here.
“It’s very strategic. I think it’s cheaper to operate from Davao or Cebu. Our regional airports have competitive advantages. We need to think strategically so we can compete and at the same time develop the regional airports,” he said.
Milan earlier expressed the need to create a body similar to Mactan Cebu International Airport that will have more autonomy to decide how to develop the airport in Davao on its own.
DCCCII president Ronald Go described Duterte is an “unorthodox president” who deals with non-traditional markets of the Philippines, like Russia and China.
“I think the President has been good for this country. He is, of course, an unorthodox President. He has broken the mold compared to the previous presidents and obviously he has been dealing with non-traditional partners, such as trading partners like China, Russia,” he said.
Go said Duterte’s efforts have “shaken up the market” for businessmen, giving them more options “where to probably source our inputs, where to sell our products. We have a bigger market now.”
He added the President has also generated interests from investors, and ambassadors “who never used to come are now coming.”
His honest assessment on Duterte, who drew criticisms for his hardline stance against criminality and drugs, is “very good.”
“We only hope our fellow countrymen, not only Dabawenyos but the whole country, continue to support our President,” Go said.
Torres said they also want other areas outside of Davao City to experience the kind of interests the city is getting from prospective investors.
“I don’t see any reason why investors would not come over and take a second look, a third look, or a fourth look on Mindanao. It does not stop in Manila or Luzon but there are more prospects, as they say, that Mindanao is a land of promise. That’s what we’re really hoping for aside from Davao City, the local government unit would come and join us and have a look at what we’re doing and obviously what we can share is our best practices, so we can achieve something that is good for the entire Mindanao,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)