ICT exec asks Duterte to lift martial law in Mindanao

A member of Task Force Davao performs a search on a bus passenger’s backpack at a checkpoint in Lasang, Davao City on Wednesday (24 May 2017) as the city tightens security following the declaration of martial law for the whole of Mindanao by President Rodrigo Duterte. MindaNews photo by Manman Dejeto

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 August) – President Rodrigo R. Duterte should lift martial law in Mindanao because it is affecting Davao City’s bid as a next premiere destination for new investors in business process outsourcing, a top executive of the information and communications technology sector in the city said.

“We hope at some point the whole martial law issuance can be lifted because our peace situation has improved,” ICT Davao president Samuel Matunog told Kapehan sa Dabaw on Monday.

He said there were fewer inquiries from prospective locators after Duterte placed the whole island of Mindanao under martial law on May 23 last year, the same day that Islamic State-inspired militants attacked Marawi City.

He said they had weekly briefings with interested investors prior to the martial law declaration.

Matunog said this changed after the declaration of martial law “because they have the opportunity to locate in other places that have no security issues.”

He said it is not BPO operators but their foreign client companies that have apprehensions about entering the city.

He said most of them are major players in the world that wanted assurance that their “risk management requirements” like political and security stability and infrastructure requirements are met.

“There is nothing we can do about it, we are not complaining because I’m sure there is a reason why martial law is needed but maybe, for our industry, if the situation improves it can help us attract more locators if we reduce these uncertainties especially because we enjoy very good climate here.  We can easily recommend Davao as disaster resiliency operations for big BPO clients,” he said.

He added that existing locators appeared to be unaffected by martial law because they are fast expanding their operations in the city.

He said the council targets to increase the number of BPO workforce in the city from 50,000 to 70,000 by 2022.

The Philippines ranked 3rd in the Tholons Service Global Index 2017, a research report and ranking of Top 50 “Digital Nations” and Top 100 “Super Cities”, next to India which ranked 1st and China 2nd. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)