By MARK FRANCISCO, Staff Writer
THE continued bloody siege in Marawi has exacted a heavy toll on prospective investment in Cagayan de Oro City after the popular children’s channel Cartoon Network reportedly pulled out its original plan of putting up a themed park in Brgy. Lumbia.
Philippine Economic Zones Authority (PEZA) consultant to the director-general Elmer Francisco yesterday confirmed the collapse of the supposed huge investment due to peace and order problem in Mindanao.
In a Facebook message, Francisco said that Cartoon Network was supposed to replicate a smaller version of its Thai amusement park somewhere in the region.
Pattaya Waterpark – a partnership between Amazon Falls and Turner Broadcasting Asia Pacific – opened in 2014 with ten exciting rides and attractions from Ben 10 rollercoasters to Powerpuff Girls aqua playground and many more.
Francisco said the same group behind Pattaya Waterpark was set to scout for a 111-hectare property in barangay Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro City when war in nearby Marawi City broke out.
Lumbia, located in the uptown portion of the city, is earmarked for more mixed use development after its spacious old airport transferred to a more modern one in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental over five years ago.
That exploration immediately fell apart and Cartoon Network is now looking for a suitable spot in Central Luzon, he said.
Francisco said that losing the possibility of hosting an international themed park in Northern Mindanao is a huge setback considering the impact that it could have on the tourism industry here.
Francisco, whose hometown is the regional capital of Cagayan de Oro, is hoping that the state of martial law in Mindanao would speed up the resolution of the armed crisis in neighboring Marawi City which borders Northern Mindanao.
“Once peace and order is swiftly restored, I’m still bullish that more investors will still come in. That is our continuing mandate in PEZA,” he said.
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