The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) is upbeat that business and consumer confidence in Mindanao will pick up, now that the armed-conflict in Maraw is over.
“We are optimistic that the people of Marawi will be back on their feet as soon as possible. With this, we anticipate a renewed boost in business and consumer confidence in Mindanao,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in a statement on Tuesday.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday said that combat operations in Marawi City were over after the last bunch of terrorist holdouts was killed.
With the fighting over, investors and consumers can more confidently carry on with transactions that were postponed as fighting erupted in the capital of Lanao del Sur five months ago, Pernia noted.
NEDA is part of Task Force Bangon Marawi, an inter-agency committee created by President Rodrigo Duterte to lead the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation efforts for the war-torn city. It is in charge of resource mobilization together with the Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and Management.
NEDA cited a report by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which said the business outlook for the last three months of 2017 improved with the confidence index rising to 51.3 percent from 42.7 in the third quarter.
Consumer sentiment also improved as the confidence index rose to 17.8 percent from 13.6 percent in the same comparable period.
Foreign business groups feared investor sentiment would be compromised by a prolonged armed conflict in Marawi.
On Tuesday last week, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi has been liberated from the influence of terrorism. The President issued the statement a day after government troops killed terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.
European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) president Guenter Taus told reporters on October 17, “"We said we will bring investors there, but we need to make sure that the peace and order situation is clear, which now has been done. So I guess we go back and we start discussions with Mindanao.”
Nicole Anne Lagrimas | GMA News
Image Source: Manila Bulletin