Tag Archives: mindanao development authority

Mindanao open for business, Malaysians told

By Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 4th, 2012

Buoyed by the positive outlook arising from the initial peace agreement signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the government held the first-ever Mindanao Business Networking Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to attract investors to Mindanao and hasten the development of the region.

Hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the forum held on Nov. 29 “generated significant interest… and is expected to lead to sizeable investments in the region,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.

The forum was held amid renewed domestic and international business confidence generated by the forging of a peace pact between the government and the MILF following October’s signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which is seen to finally end the decades-old conflict in the region.

“Our undertaking today, together with many other similar initiatives, underscores the commitment of the Aquino administration to bring the fruits of development to the peoples of Mindanao… Our presence here today, we are collectively announcing to the world that Mindanao is finally open for business,” said Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya in his remarks at the forum.

Malaya cited Mindanao’s potential in various fields and called it “a new engine of growth” for the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

During the forum, Philippine officials and about 45 Mindanao-based businessmen networked with some 70 Malaysian businessmen and trade officials. Among those in attendance were Malaysian Deputy Secretary General for Trade Mohd Ridzal Sheriff and the heads of top Malaysian business chambers.

Palm oil, rubber, coconut

The DFA said the investors expressed interest in joint ventures with Filipino firms on natural resource development, including palm oil, natural rubber and coconut, and ecotourism.

Malaysian investors also saw Mindanao’s potential for halal food development, finance, housing and infrastructure development, and information and communications technology, said the DFA.

Sheriff said the development of Mindanao as a new growth area would boost the economic partnership between the Philippines and Malaysia.

“Mindanao has vast potential which remains untapped. It is my hope that Malaysian businessmen can benefit from the presentations and that investment promotion programs will be intensified,” Sheriff told the forum.

Malaysia played a crucial role in the government-MILF peace negotiations, serving as host for the talks.

Upgraded Tawi-Tawi airport draws commercial airlines and interest from investors

BusinessWorld Online
October 21, 2011

BONGAO, TAWI-TAWI — Once considered one of the most inaccessible provinces in the country, Tawi-Tawi is experiencing a surge in business activity and investor interest. Through a partnership between the Philippine and US governments, the Tawi-Tawi airport runway was upgraded.

This month, Cebu-Pacific begins new commercial flight routes daily from Zamboanga City to Sanga-Sanga airport in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, using an Airbus A319.

Earlier, Airphil Express began flying a 77-seater along the same route, with connecting flights to Manila and Davao.

“The presence of two commercial airlines means more competitive transport rates, which is good for business,” said a local entrepreneur.

The Department of Transportation and Communications, the provincial government of Tawi-Tawi, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program implemented the runway project.

“Linking Tawi-Tawi to the rest of the country and the world is in line with the Philippine Government’s efforts to ensure the physical integration of Mindanao through major transport infrastructure,” said Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority, which oversees implementation of USAID’s GEM Program.

The Tawi-Tawi runway was extended by USAID from 1,608 to 1,920 meters, and widened from 18 to 30 meters. It is now all-concrete, and able to accommodate larger aircraft such as Boeing 737s and Airbus 320s.

“The A319 has a large cargo hold, which is convenient for shipping live fish to buyers in Manila, Hong Kong and other destinations, without having to repack the cargo,” said Nazrullah Masahud, vice-president of the Tawi-Tawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He added that the air links would support the expansion of the mariculture industry in Tawi-Tawi, home to the Sulu Archipelago’s only multi-species hatchery.

The chamber and the provincial government worked with the airlines and the CAAP to expedite the establishment of the new flights

Previously, travelers going from Zamboanga to Tawi-Tawi had to endure a 17-hour ferry ride.

The easy access by air has drawn investors and domestic tourists to the island-province, where in recent months two small beachside hotels have opened, in addition to the expansion of existing resorts.

Redentor Lauddin, director of the Tawi-Tawi Board of Investments-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said that Malaysian investors have expressed interest in linking Tawi-Tawi with the thriving tourism industry in nearby Sabah.

In addition to resort development, there are investment opportunities in power generation, cold storage, and housing development which are opening up in the wake of the new flight routes, said Mr. Lauddin.

Central Mindanao expects P500-M investments from Manila food expo

BusinessWorld Online
April 14, 2011

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — A mission to the International Food Exposition (IFEX) scheduled to be held in Metro Manila next month is expected to generate P500 million worth of new investments for Central Mindanao, a regional Department of Trade and Industry official said here earlier this week.

The economic development committee of the Regional Development Council-12 had earlier identified six focus industry clusters as a strategy to further prod economic activity in the area.

Ethel L. Gumana, National Economic Research and Business Assistance Center chief, said in a phone interview that Central Mindanao is among the featured regions in the IFEX, slated to be held on May 12-14 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

“Our delegates [from the business community] hope to forge joint venture agreements with multinational firms during the business matching activity, ” Ms. Gumana said.

“There will also be project proposals to the different embassies,” she added.

Ms. Gumana said Central Mindanao’s participation in IFEX is in line with efforts to promote awareness of the region’s business opportunities.

It also seeks to forge links between project proponents and potential local and foreign investors, as well as funding sources, she added.

“Hopefully, this would lead to the influx of investments in the region and the creation of employment opportunities for the people of Central Mindanao,” Ms. Gumana said.

Also known as Region XII or Soccsksargen, the region consists the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani, as well as the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The six focus industry clusters earlier identified by the regional development council are coffee, muscovado, tourism, processed fish, processed fruits, as well as information and communications technology.

The committee identified the clusters based on their potential market demand, regional coverage and social benefits. Other products that were also recognized to have growth potentials in the region are palm oil, art crafts, crabs, corn, coconut, rice, processed meat and hogs.

Luwalhati R. Antonino, chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority, had earlier urged Mindanao producers to expand their markets by forging marketing links or trade partnerships.