Marawi businessmen to craft ‘economic roadmap’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 Oct) – Business owners in Marawi City will craft an “economic roadmap” for the development of the city as they want to reopen it to investors and create economic activities, according to Rolando Torres, Mindanao Business Council (MinBC) executive director.

One of the many shops at the “padian,” Marawi City’s commercial district, long before the siege that destroyed the city. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Torres said in an interview on Wednesday that they will support this private-led initiative to create a roadmap which will specify the preferred investment areas, industries, opportunities, and developments that they want to see in Marawi after it was destroyed when Islamic State-inspired militants attacked it on May 23, 2017.

The five-month fighting between government forces and the Maute Group ended with Duterte’s declaration of Marawi’s “liberation” from the influence of the terrorist group after the death of Abu Sayyaf Group leader Isnilon Hapilon, emir of the ISIS in Southeast Asia, and Omar Maute on October 16, 2017.

Torres said the business leaders want to consider also the viable developments in areas around the city to be able to spread the development to its neighboring areas in Lanao del Sur and promote diverse economic activities.

“That will be discussed – the types of businesses, opportunities and developments. The roadmap will help them focus on what industries they will really support,” he said.

Meranaws were engaged mostly in trading activities before the siege, Torres said.

He added that the local businesses are also asking investors to put up an abattoir as they want to push the city as one of the Halal hubs in Mindanao.

He said the city also has a huge potential in tourism and as a major production area for poultry.

Torres said the city needs more investments in areas of communication, transportation, tourism, and infrastructure.

Torres said the roadmap will be one of the discussions in the planned Marawi Business Conference to be organized by the Metro Marawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Iligan City this year in a bid to encourage investors to have a look at Marawi.

“We’re supporting an initiative of the local business group to conduct a business conference. We are waiting for the schedule but we have committed to support them in terms providing access and linkages to the market and invite some investors to look at the potentials of Marawi,” he said.

He acknowledged that convincing the investors to enter Marawi with its current condition would be difficult but he assured the city has huge potential particularly for Halal and agricultural industries.

“The challenge that we want to let the outside investors see that the small businesses in Marawi are up and above and are willing to engage them in joint ventures,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)