DAVAO CITY—President Rodrigo R. Duterte has positively changed the views of foreign investors about Davao City, as they are now more interested in locating to the President’s hometown.
This was revealed Monday by Arturo Milan, chair of the 4th Davao Investment Conference 2017 (ICON 2017), which is hosted by the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc (DCCCII).
Milan stressed that foreign envoys and investors, who came to explore the city, were surprised to find out many investment opportunities in the area.Their security perception in Davao has also also changed because of President Duterte, Milan said.
“This is first time. Before it (perception) was very negative, especially that the dateline of negative stories is Davao City. So we want to take advantage of this opportunity,” Milan pointed out.
DCCCII president Ronald Go corroborated Milan, saying that they have been receiving groups of domestic and foreign investors looking for opportunities here.
Since January, Go said that DCCCII has received ambassadors from India, Pakistan, Denmark and Australia, who brought with them prospective investors. He also looks forward to meeting the ambassadors of South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Go said a big group of Japanese investors also came to meet them to talk about infrastructure development, particularly mass transport projects.
“We have entertained lot of groups. There seems to be a lot of interest,” Go said during Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao.
Lately, Chinese, Japanese and Korean investors are eyeing manufacturing and infrastructure in the area, which Milan said is good because Davao has been left out for many years “as investments were cornered by the National Capital Region (NCR) and Luzon.”
Before, foreign investors were only able to explore NCR and Luzon areas for locations, he said.
While there is still a need to establish industrial zones, improved mass transport, sea and air connectivity, and improve Internet connection, Milan said they want to seize the opportunity happening now under the present administration because the President comes from Davao.
He said since Duterte took the presidency, there has been an influx of businessmen and tourists — both local and foreign.
Milan said they are eyeing to get investors for agriculture, especially in the upland areas to create jobs and improve the lives of people as poverty is highest in those areas.
They are also eyeing to draw investors for manufacturing industries because of its bigger scale in generating jobs, he added.
In the past ICONs, John Tria, chairperson of the ICON Program Sub-committee, said issues on security, lack of support from the national government, connectivity and Internet concerns hindered efforts to attract investors to Davao region.
Tria said they are promoting not only Davao City but also the Davao region because “we wanted it seen as anchor of the country’s growth of 6.8 to 7 percent and bring down the poverty incidence from 15 percent.”
Milan said they expect more foreign investors to participate in the Davao ICON slated on July 21 and 22 at the SMX Convention Center.