DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 Oct) – Singaporean and Malaysian businessmen will visit Davao City next year to explore opportunities for investments in Mindanao positioned as a Muslim friendly destination in the country, an official of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said.
Dr. Adrian Tamayo, MinDA public relations officer, said in an interview Tuesday the potential investors will reciprocate the initiatives of the 24-man delegation from Mindanao who visited Singapore and Kuala Lumpur last September 24 to 29.
“We need to prepare our industries for return missions and make our industries and local establishments be ready for potential investments,” he said.
There must be better infrastructure, more interconnectivity, and more halal-accredited hotels and restaurants, to convince foreign investors to do business in Mindanao, he said.
“If you want them to come and come again, we have to transfer them with ease and comfort. One concern raised by the Malaysians was that, are we ready with our halal establishments? We are saying therefore hopefully this will convert into investments on the part of Muslims to develop halal restaurants,” he said.
He said the five-day business missions were conducted to “create an impression that there is a good number of passengers,” to sustain operations of airline companies servicing the Davao-Malaysia-Davao and Davao-Singapore-Davao air routes.
The existing international flights of the F. Bangoy International Airport are Silk Air’s Davao-Singapore and AirAsia’s Davao-Kuala Lumpur flights.
He said potential investors will be coming over to Mindanao to look for investment opportunities in agriculture and tourism. During the return visits next year, he said they will pitch to Singaporean and Malaysian investors the available economic zones, products, and services in Mindanao.
Also, Tamayo said a Singaporean logistics firm is willing to invest P40 billion to bring durian, banana, and other fruits from Mindanao, following a huge demand from their local markets.
“They demand really our durian, also our bananas. The volume of supply of our fruits in Singapore is limited when it reaches the market. Part of the discussion next year is how to do things right, how to increase volume of our fruits to Singapore,” he said.
The five-day missions to Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur were participated by MinDA, City Government of Davao, Department of Tourism 11, Philippine Chamber of Commerce Inc., and Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority.
In Kuala Lumpur, the Philippine Investment Forum was organized by the Philippine Embassy of Malaysia through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC). Meetings with officials from Philippine Embassy in Malaysia and executives from the Jakim Malaysia, Halal Development Corporation, Islamic Tourism Centre, and various Malaysian Tour Operators were held.
In Singapore, another Investment and Tourism Forum was held through the assistance of PTIC in Singapore and Singapore Business Federation and met with officials from the Philippine Embassy in Singapore and executives of the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and various tourism organizations. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)