Davao businessmen see positive outlook for 2007
by Romy Sabaldan
Davao City (23 January) -- The strong performance of various sectors has made it possible for Davao City to again prove its competitiveness as one of the most livable and economically viable destination for investors this year.
Patrick Castro, Executive Director of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued this projection before top civilian and military officials led by newly-installed TF Davao Commander Col. Alan Luga and employees of national government agencies doing the regular Monday flag raising ceremony at the headquarters of Task Force Davao, this city.
Castro identified at least eight sectors with strong and viable economic projections foremost of which is the increased in government spending, mining, agriculture, services sector, banking and finance, customs collections, peace and order and tourism.
He said that with the advent of the Mindanao Super Region, the government has committed to spend more for infrastructure. "The ensuing construction boom will mean more employment, increased income, and more revenue for the government," Castro said.
"Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's publicized plans to push through with infrastructure projects like the drainage program and the construction of bridges also bode well for the economy," Castro added.
The top Davao Chamber official said Davao hinges its hopes also in the following sectors.
Mining: The city is expected to benefit from the mining boom in the Davao region as its commercial and trading hub.
Agriculture: This sector is expected to grow by leaps and bounds since there is no prediction of a prolonged El Niņo this year. Big investments in banana production and exports are also expected particularly in the north.
Services Sector: The city is becoming a major hub in business process outsourcing in Mindanao with the establishment of medical transcription facilities (MT Academy) and call centers (Link2Support and PeopleSupport). Also expected to mushroom are support establishments like training and finishing institutions for business process outsourcing. The establishment of the IT Park in Damosa and other IT centers (NCCC Mall) in the proposed Silicon Gulf will also boost Davao as the IT hub of Mindanao.
Describing as Filipino heroes of the 21st century, Castro said the overseas Filipino workers are expected to invest more in real estate, education and the pre-need industry.
Banking and Finance: The entry of HSBC, Chinatrust and other banks during the last quarter of 2006 is an indication of the upward trend of the economic activity of the city. It means more opportunities for capital sourcing for consumer goods and services.
Customs Collections: Despite the exemption of fertilizers, farm implements and other materials from taxes, the Bureau of Customs in Davao has set another record when it collected 1.3 billion pesos, up by 15% compared to the previous year. If the trend continues, coupled with other revenue-generating measures like improved tax collection and curbing graft and corruption in government, the state will have increased revenues, lower the budget deficit thereby raising more funds available for social services and infrastructure.
Peace and Order: Should the peace agreement with the MILF and the government push through, Davao City is also expected to benefit from the agreement and the attendant $50-million Mindanao Trust Fund.
Tourism: The year 2007 is going to see the arrival of more tourists, particularly Koreans with the opening of the Davao-Macau-Seoul route by Air Macau, and possibly the opening of the Davao-Nagoya route as proposed by Councilor Lavina.
To help cope with the influx of foreign and domestic tourists, a new hotel (Microtel) is rising up in Damosa. Davao will also continue to be the Convention Capital of the Philippines, and hopefully, in the ASEAN region as well. With the election period coming up, the travel and tourism sectors anticipate some movement.
Capping up his short talk, Castro said that all these translate to the creation of jobs, more revenue for government, increased income and a better life for the people of Davao City this year and beyond. (PIA XI) [top]