#MINDANAO: Towards a more competitive economy

Published January 25, 2022, 4:39 PM

by John Tria

As we look ahead to 2022 we hope to build a more competitive economy as we continuously trade with the world- all moving towards recovery and resilience.

I recall a conversation I had with an agribusiness leader early in the last decade who was happy to exclaim that buying prices of their commodity were good. On the other hand, at that time poverty levels were still higher than 20% of the 100 million Pinoys. This means a good number of Filipinos cannot afford their locally grown food products. A fair question then was how can producers be happy when a big number of their countrymen cannot afford their products?

Moving forward, however, the challenge is making our products cost competitive so that a bigger number of our countrymen can afford them, and more jobs can be generated in the process.

The good news is that as the economy opens up, more investments are expected, bringing more capital and technology that spur innovation and competitiveness. A big help is better infrastructure, lower taxes and tailored incentives via the CREATE Law to promoting investments even in sectors that are not export oriented.

Looking forward to new reforms allowing higher foreign ownership in major sectors, which can increase investor interest in many industries, especially those making local products to meet our growing local needs. This is how more manufacturing can grow, creating jobs in the process.

Mindanao business developments

A 10 Billion peso cement manufacturing plant to be located in Davao del Sur has been approved.

Incentives from the Fiscal Incentives Review Board support the project slated to produce cement which can supply the cement needs for the many infrastructure projects in Mindanao.

In other developments, Mindanao business organizations are helping others rise from the devastation of Typhoon Odette, and facing the risks posed by new COVID 19 variants. The various local chambers of commerce under the Philippine chamber of Commerce and Industry have banded together for Odette relief in a strong show of unity.

Foreign chambers such as the American Chamber of Commerce and industry recently held their 2022 induction of officers led by President fruit exporter Ferdinand Maranon taking the helm from past president and former Davao City Vice Mayor and civic leader Luis Bonguyan Jr.

The new Board directors Include Cagayan de Oro based business leader Elpidio Paras, Gensan Based Benirando Claudio Guillermo Torres, Jr., President & Chairman of the Board of the University of Mindanao Corporate Secretary, Myra Quilatan of ACCRA Law Offices Davao Jocelyn Catampo of Doc Joy Documentation and Consultancy Services Bernadette Fernandez Chief Financial Officer of BF Industries, Inc; Rossano Luga Jose Rao’ul Balisalisa of SGV & Co; Cherrylin Casuga of the Blue Sapphire Group of Companies, and Atty. Geraldine Tiu.

These and other developments in foreign business groups show a renewed confidence in the Mindanao economy, which has shown its resilience in recovery from the pandemic.

We hope that higher levels of partnership and the increased presence of foreign business groups will help promote even more manufacturing and related investments on the island.

Cafe Cristina Victoria in San Franz

A landmark on the Davao-Butuan road is this popular lunch stop called Café Cristina Victoria in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, which has been serving great hot local and international dishes for travelers along this busy route almost four decades.

Despite the growth of nearby malls and fastfood joints, the café still draws a good share of diners who do not want to miss out on the food, desserts and coffee.

More years to this great place!