Tag Archives: business leaders

US eyes investments in Mindanao

June 4th, 2014
Phil Daily Inquirer
Grig C. Montegrande

MANILA, Philippines—The United States (US) is now seriously considering investing in Mindanao, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s courtesy call to President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday morning included discussions on reforms and trade between the two countries.

“We spoke about potential areas of US investment in the Philippines, and…they are looking at the potential areas of investments: car manufacturing, energy, infrastructure in Mindanao, infrastructure on mass transit, and also tourism,” Lacierda said during the televised press briefing.

He explained that the government’s peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has resulted in a better outlook for Mindanao.

“I suppose everybody is interested in investing in Mindanao because it’s really an area where there is a lot of promise. But because of the issue on the MILF before, there was great concern whether those investments can be—whether it is wise to invest in Mindanao,” he said.

“Now that we have come to a peaceful agreement with the MILF, many countries have been looking at Mindanao as a potential area for investment,” Lacierda added.

Lacierda said the United States and other member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have expressed interest in the region.

During US President Barack Obama’s first state visit to the Philippines last April, he said Pritzker and a delegation of American businessmen will be coming to the country “to explore new opportunities.”

Aquino has drawn international praise for his government’s Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front after decades of conflict.

The government is now racing against time to submit the draft Bangsamoro basic law to Congress in the hope of getting it approved by year-end and ratified by the Bangsamoro people next year.

During the courtesy call, Pritzker “praised, complimented the President on his leadership, and also congratulated the President on all his accomplishments and what he has done for the country,’’ Lacierda said.

Pritzker and the delegation of American business leaders arrived in Manila for a series of meetings with government and business leaders to discuss how the country could continue developing a fair business climate, reduce market access barriers and increase transparency, the US Embassy said.

Pritzker would also deliver a major address on America’s economic engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, it added.

Western Mindanao business leaders outline concerns

BusinessWeek Mindanao
Posted August 29, 2010

The concerns, which were deemed needed to improve the business climate in Zamboanga Peninsula, as well as in the three island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, were outlined in a resolution drafted at the end here last Aug. 27 of the two-day 6th Zamboanga Peninsula Business Conference.

The four-page resolution was submitted to Tourism Secretary Alberto A. Lim, who represented President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III during the conference.

“We want the President to order his Cabinet to look at these pressing issues,” Edgar M. Bagarinao, Philippine Chamber of Commerce, Inc. regional governor for Western Mindanao, said in an interview over the weekend.

On the need to improve the region’s electricity supply, the resolution said “the key strategy for regional development, as identified by the Zamboanga Peninsula Business Council, is the inclusion of the region in the priority areas for the development of new alternative energy sources through the use of any of a number of new, clean and renewable energy technologies such as windmills, solar cells, hydro-dams, and wave current generators.”

The entire Mindanao island has just emerged from a crippling power shortage in the first half that involved power outages that stretched for most of the working hours. The problem eased with the end last June of the prolonged dry spell and the filling up of dams that power hydroelectric plants, which meet half of the entire island’s power needs.

As of yesterday, however, Mindanao still had thin reserves of just 51 megawatts, according to the Web site of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

The resolution also stressed the need to consult businesses on steps to resolve the decades-old secessionist problem. This, as a deal Malacañang had proposed to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2008 fell through amid an outcry over the inclusion of predominantly Christian areas in an expanded autonomous Muslim region.

“Zamboanga Peninsula… has, time and again, been plunged into crisis due to the constant and incessant demand of the parties to the peace process to include the region in its entirety, or parts of it, in efforts to either expand an existing autonomous region or be included as an integral part of a new and expanded homeland for a specific segment of Filipino society,” the resolution read.

“The business community is the first victim of these resulting crises; it drives away tourists and investors, thereby resulting in the loss of business opportunities in the region. Questions of ancestral domain claims and similar demands likewise endanger the security of current and future investments in the region.”

The resolution also pressed the government “to look into the competitiveness of Zamboanga Peninsula routes… by strictly regulating and… lowering exorbitant rates levied by shipping cartels and/or monopolies of existing route operators.”