A PHILIPPINE Chamber official is optimistic about Mindanao’s potential to reach two-digit growth as long as the existing structural gaps can be fixed and foreign investors come in.
During the Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao on Monday, Arturo Milan, vice president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Mindanao, cited structural gaps specifically in Caraga, Western Mindanao, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) regions, which hindered development.
“After the lifting [of Proclamation 55], we have to fix all the structural gaps we are experiencing in Mindanao if you really want to optimize the growth of Mindanao, help generate jobs, and improve the lives of the Mindanaoans,” he said.
Milan explained that out of the 17 regions in the country, BARMM placed 17th and Caraga placed 15th, putting them at the tail-end of national development. However, he noted that BARMM has been growing significantly in the past two years.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, Davao Region ranked third in the entire country as the fastest growing region with 8.15%. Meanwhile, Northern Mindanao ranked 11th, and Soccsksargen ranked 14th.
Milan specifically mentioned the three regions because of their one commonality—stable power.
Antonio Peralta, chair of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines Southern Mindanao, mentioned that electric cooperatives should be held accountable to their own mandates to resolve this problem.
Secretary Maria Belen S. Acosta, Mindanao Development Authority chair and Philippine Signing Minister of BIMP-EAGA, added they plan to include the improvement of the energy industry by conducting workshops with electric cooperatives and exploring the usage of renewable energy.
“Reliable power is a catalyst for development as well. If there is no power, there will be no investments coming, especially those in manufacturing that need a three-phase connection,” Milan said.
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