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Industrial Parks: Next wave of real-estate boom

February 13, 2019
Amor Maclang

AGRICULTURE is a key contributor to the Philippine economy. However, when compared to some of our Asian neighbors, our agricultural industry falls behind, especially in terms of quality processing, manufacturing and exportation.

For the Mindanao region, falling behind represents a huge untapped opportunity to advance the country’s agro-business sector. Mindanao is the country’s fruit basket after all. The Davao region, specifically, is a key exporter of various agricultural products such as banana, abaca and rubber.

With 16 percent of the 2019 national budget heading toward Mindanao, the government is clearly prepping the south of the Philippines for economic growth. But how can the agro-business sector benefit from the growing Mindanao economy?

A premier agro-industrial park

FOR the Anflo Group of Cos., which includes Tagum Agricultural Development Cos., Inc. (Tadeco), Davao International Container Terminal (DICT), Pearl Farm Beach Resort and Damosa Land Inc., the solution is simple: enable access to and support the integration of agricultural materials and processes. The conglomerate is offering their solution through the newly developed Anflo Industrial Estate Corp., a premier agro-industrial ecozone in the Davao region. AIEC is a 63-hectare park that houses industrial lots and ready-built factories that international and local processors and manufacturers can either purchase or lease for five to 25 years.

“We received our Philippine Economic Zone Authority [Peza] accreditation by 2015 and started building the park itself in 2016,” said Ricardo Lagdameo, vice president for Anflo’s real-estate arm, Damosa Land Inc. “We felt that the economy was right and that it was necessary to diversify the types of businesses in the region. The Davao region is known for fresh fruit production and export, but today we believe that the heft of the growth opportunity will be in manufacturing, especially as this relates to agro-industrial manufacturing.”

AIEC is built and zoned to boost industrial development. Unlike many industrial parks in the country, AIEC is located within walking distance to an international container port. It is also only 40 minutes away from an international airport. “We are providing a space that has complete infrastructure, security, unparalleled location and access to a world-class container terminal. We have also planned infrastructure for the future—wide roads, sewerage treatment facilities, 24/7 security and commercial amenities to service the workers in the park,” said Lagdameo.
Benefiting commerce, community and country

A world-class industrial park in Mindanao benefits many stakeholders. For agricultural processors, an organized industrial park makes for an efficient business setup. Since AIEC is registered under the Peza, locators also receive tax incentives.

The agro-industrial zone also represents income for the community. Mindanao is home to almost one-fourth of the Filipino population, so the industrial park means major job creation in the region. Being located in the food basket of the country means access to various types of agricultural produce. The Davao region is known to be the leading producer of bananas, pineapple, cacao and coconut. Local farmers can thus benefit as the park brings together ready buyers of harvest. For example, AIEC’s locators include a saba processor and a banana chip manufacturer. “In five years, AIEC will be a bustling community with 4,000 to 5,000 workers, a place for farmers to sell their produce, and a driver for growth in the region,” envisioned Lagdameo.

Moreover, AIEC’s developers are part of a conglomerate that has been doing business in Davao for almost 70 years. This places AIEC apart from other industrial parks in the Philippines and in direct competition with international counterparts. According to Lagdameo, “Foreign investors look at how easy it is to do business in a country before investing in it, as well as how secure it will be for the next years to come.” And AIEC is designed to pull foreign investments into the Philippines and drive global economic competitiveness.
The global interest in AIEC

There is already demonstrable global interest in the premier agro-industrial zone. AIEC’s growing list of locators includes at least four nationalities—Filipino, Dutch, Chinese and American. Some notable locators include Del Monte Fresh Produce (stores packaging materials for their fresh fruit exports) and First Panabo Tropical Foods Inc. (processes frozen turon and saba for export). United Good Harvest (processes dried banana chips for export) is also set to begin its operations within the first quarter of this year.

“Most of our locators are involved one way or another in agri-business. Aside from food processing, we signed on a pallet manufacturer that services the needs of plantations, a company that produces packaging material for fresh fruit exporters, and a foam manufacturer which supplies material for packaging, as well. We also seem to be at the positive end of the ongoing trade war between China and the US. A number of Chinese companies are setting up in AIEC in order to be able to continue exporting to the US from the Philippines” explained Lagdameo.

In total, 65 percent of AIEC’s first phase of lots and ready-built facilities have already been leased or sold. Currently, the park is receiving multiple inquiries for the remaining 4 out of the 15 ready-built facilities that have been established. Several more units will also be constructed this year to accommodate the demand.

“What we’ve seen on our end is that locators want to come in quickly. Hence, we will be building our more ready-built facilities for locators to choose from.”

However, the current capacity represents only one of four phases of AIEC. In the next two years, AIEC will roll out two additional industrial phases and one commercial phase. Plans to place a cold-storage facility are also in the works. With major expansion in the pipeline, AIEC will certainly serve as an international business gateway for Mindanao and the country.


Japan pledges 3.2-B yen in loans for Mindanao projects

BusinessWorld Online
February 22, 2019

JAPAN has pledged additional grants for the Philippines following a joint meeting held in Osaka this week, which include funding for train simulators as well as projects for healthcare and peace efforts in Mindanao.

In a statement, the Department of Finance (DoF) said the seventh leg of the Japan-Philippines Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation held on Thursday yielded new loans and financial aid for the country.

Japanese officials have pledged a fresh 3.2 billion yen grant for peace and development projects in Mindanao, which came after the ratification of the proposed creation of the Bangsamoro region.

The fresh assistance will cover the following:

• 1.8 billion yen for the construction of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority training centers in the damaged city of Marawi, and the provinces of Basilan and Sultan Kudarat;

• 560 million yen for the provision of well-drilling machines and underground water detecting machines under the Economic and Social Development Programme;

• 200 million yen for the provision of livelihood assistance in agriculture and for fishers through the Food and Agriculture Organization;

• 300 million yen for the development of water facilities in the Bangsamoro region through the International Labor Organization; and

• 340 million yen for the provision of vehicles and equipment through the United Nations Development Programme.

This is on top of the $202-million loan for the Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao, which is due to be signed soon after the two nations already exchanged notes for the credit line earlier this month.

Separately, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda also signed the exchange of notes for a 1.2-billion yen assistance for train simulators to support the proposed Philippine Railway Institute. This is projected to train workers who will man the upcoming rail systems under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

Also discussed are feasibility studies for the Circumferential Road 3 Missing Link Project in Metro Manila and the Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project. The Japanese leaders also said that they are considering a “possible supplemental loan” for the Davao City Bypass Construction Project, as requested by the Philippine government.

The two officials also signed a memorandum of cooperation for healthcare, as they look to set up facilities for universal health coverage, elderly care, disease prevention, maternal and child health services and sanitation.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte recently signed the universal healthcare law, which made all Filipinos mandatory members of the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

Mr. Dominguez said the joint meetings stand to improve cooperation and “facilitate project implementation,” with Japan currently the biggest donor to the Philippines via official development assistance.

“Our two countries have entered a golden age of our strategic partnership. In addition to government-to-government relationships, I hope the relationship between our private sectors would also be good,” Hiroto Izumi, Special Advisor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and leader of the Japanese contingent, was quoted as saying.

The Mr. Izumi said they will closely watch out for developments in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, which will kick off the signing of grant agreements involving the new region in Mindanao.

Japan has so far extended P189.92 billion (398.82 billion yen) for local projects since June 2016. Nine loan agreements have been signed so far, which include phase two of the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project, the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Rehabilitation Project; the first tranche of the North-South Commuter Railway Extension Project, and the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez

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ARMM inaugurates Bangsamoro Museum

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, Feb. 5 (PIA) -– The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) formally inaugurated the first Bangsamoro Museum on Feb. 4 at Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City.

The Bangsamoro Museum is a facility established under Executive Order No. 32 s. 2019.

It serves as a repository of artifacts, works of art, as well as textual and iconographic records relevant to the cultural memory of the Bangsamoro people in the ARMM.

Gov. Mujiv Hataman, who led the opening of the museum, said it was not easy for the regional government to put up the facility.

However, the assistance of a national curator and the competence of the workforce of the Office of the Regional Governor drove him to push for it.

He also noted the importance of the inauguration of the facility for ARMM and for the next generation.

The Bangsamoro Museum was organized under independent curator and institutional critic Marian Pastor Roces.

She said the purpose of its establishment is to collect significant stories of the Bangsamoro people through the exhibition of different artifacts from the region.

Roces said she admires the resiliency of the Bangsamoro people and this is the reason why during the conceptualization of the museum’s theme, her group collected objects that convey stories of courage and survival as their main value.

Curation is a process of organizing and managing artifacts to ensure that they remain tangible and visible for the years to come.

The Bangsamoro Museum has its permanent exhibition which presents artifacts from the different parts of ARMM that have existed for centuries.

Visitors can also appreciate the textiles produced by Maranao women during the Marawi Siege as means of survival, recordings of the Tausug Kissa-chanting of the Bud Dajo massacre, a personal library of Moro Islamic Liberation Front founder Hashim Salamat, and the 2,000-year-old archeological artifacts of Kulaman plateau, specifically burial urns.

Aside from the artifacts, the museum also has ample space reserved for receiving important documents in the future.

The museum currently exhibits documents related to the peace process, including the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

Along with the launching of the Bangsamoro Museum was the formal opening of the ARMM Regional Library which it has already been open to the public. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/PIA10)

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