Three foreign business chambers that crafted last year a special “investment corridor” in southern Mindanao appeared to have struck gold as they announced that they are bringing on Friday some 25 foreign business executives to industrial and processing sites here and in two other adjacent towns.
Philip S. Dizon, president of the Davao chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (AmCham), said the 25 prospective investors include “many Japanese,” brought by its partner Japanese Chamber of Commerce.
The investors will visit the industrial sites developed by the Floirendo-owned holdings company, the Anflocor Group, in the northern suburb here and in Panabo, Davao del Norte, to the Hijo port development and industrial estate jointly developed by the Ayala family here and in the Industrial Container Terminal and Port Services of the Razon family.
The visitors will also be toured to Ciudades, the industrial and township project of the Lorenzo family north of downtown Davao City, and to the industrial estates in Davao del Sur that were developed by the Japanese construction company, Nakayama, and the Almendras family.
Some of these investors were into manufacturing, agribusiness and services, Dizon said.
The AmCham and the Japanese chamber were joined by the European Chamber of Commerce to form the loose Joint Foreign Chamber of Commerce that advocated for a wider promotion of Mindanao as investment and relocation site for foreign manufacturing and agriculture operations in the country.
AmCham President Ebb Hinch-liffe and Japanese chamber President Keisuke Nakao attended the briefing on Thursday and joined the tour on Friday. Julian H. Payne, president of the Canadian business chamber in the country, also attended.
Last year the three chambers met here to jointly ask the Board of Investments (BOI) to grant additional incentive packages to foreign businesses that would locate their ventures in the Davao region.
Dizon said that among those that it sought favor from the BOI are longer tax holidays and faster processing of their applications, even from corporations that would open new export-processing zones.
Hinchliffe said there are countries in Asia that extend longer tax holidays. Vietnam, for instance, has its 30-year tax holiday, he said.
The joint chambers closely coordinated with government agencies in its project, creating a Southern Mindanao Growth Corridor Investment to bring major investors to Southern Philippines.
In a talk last year in the joint foreign chambers meeting, Dizon said, “We want to spread out the businesses to the region, from General Santos City to the south to Mati City to the east.”
The entire area would cover a stretch of 300 kilometers of highway and big plantations of pineapple, banana, coconut, vegetables and other crops. There are still large tracts of open agricultural areas that could be tapped for industrial infrastructure in Mindanao.
The Davao region, he said, is largely agricultural, “but when we invite more industries, we would encourage investors to invest in the other areas of the region to avoid congestion in the city and the depletion of water resources,” he said.
Source: Business Mirror