By Mike Baños
Public and private officials have all expressed elation over Northern Mindanao’s (Region 10) record-breaking investment performance for 2018 as recorded by the Board of Investments (BOI).
Northern Mindanao accounted for the lion’s share of the P907.2 billion investments registered with the BOI in 2018 with P228.8 billion, or 25.2% of the total, well above the P7.2 billion a year ago, for an astounding 3,063% increase.
“BOI's figure on Northern Mindanao investments is very encouraging. Investors are really looking at countryside development rather than center on Metro Manila and the other bigger metro centers,” said Eileen San Juan, Local Economic and Investment Promotions Officer who heads the Cagayan de Oro Investments, Trade and Promotion Center (Oro-TIPC).
“For Region 10, there is a lot of opportunity to establish business especially for its strategic location as well as connections to the supply chain. For Cagayan de Oro City having consistently been in the Top 10 Most Competitive Highly-Urbanized Cities in the last 6 years, this brings prominence of the city's growth and development directions. Local government has also intensified on various programs and projects that have shown good results in the competitive pillar indexes on economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure, and resiliency,” she added.
Ma. Teresa Alegrio, Regional Governor, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Region 10, was equally ebullient.
“Better than usual. This is certainly an exceptional feat; an indication of the region’s resilient and positive outlook despite the bleak forecast and apprehensions of some countries to come to Mindanao,” she commented.
Engr. Gus Adis, President of the Phividec Industries Association, foresees a bright future ahead as indicated by the BOI figures.
“The stars have finally aligned to fulfill the promise of Mindanao and Northern Mindanao as the gateway to the island, is at the center of this economic development,” Adis said. “There are many factors contributing to this very important development, allow me to cite a few.”
First, with the operation of the single biggest baseload power plant at the Phividec in the FDC Misamis Coal Plant, a surplus power was experienced for the first time in the brown-out prone island.
Adis expects even more power stability after the completion of the Mindanao grid connection to Visayas and Luzon grids now under construction by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
Next, Adis cited the availability of competitively priced petroleum products which were previously sourced from small oil refineries in Luzon and distributed to the storage facilities of the island through small and highly expensive inter-island vessels.
“In 2016 a major oil company started operation of its mega terminal in Cagayan de Oro City importing refined petroleum products from oil refineries abroad and delivered to its mega storage facility through huge oil carriers,” Adis noted. “In 2017 another oil company located at Phividec with a similar facility followed suit, providing competitively priced petroleum products to the island’s consumers.”
Not the least, Adis cited Northern Mindanao’s competitive investment environment spurred by the relatively low standard of living which translates to competitive employee wages and benefits; the availability of vast land areas at competitive rates; the abundant supply of a skilled and highly trainable work force; and not the least, the presence of the largest economic zone in the Phividec Industrial Estate in Misamis Oriental.
Romolo Valentino Nati, the Italian Chairman and CEO of Italpinas Development Corporation is one of the significant foreign investors in the region, constructing the Primavera Residences condominium in Cagayan de Oro City in 2010.
“Italpinas has been a strong believer in Northern Mindanao's future from the very beginning of our company. Our first project, Primavera Residences in Cagayan de Oro, was once considered by many (in the capital especially) as a gamble,” Nati recalls.
“It was said by many at the time that Northern Mindanao was not ready for our concept and product. We disagreed, and pressed through with our confidence in Region 10, and in Mindanao as a whole. The outcome since then has been a reaffirmation of our confidence. The region is full of energy and potential, and we are only at the beginning of this growth story,” he added.
Nati takes the news that Region 10 has taken the greatest share of BOI investments in 2018 as a further affirmation of their long-standing belief in the Northern Mindanao growth story.
“The Philippines as a whole is a growth story that has been recognized internationally. From within the Philippines, though, we are seeing that there is an additional aspect to this national growth story, which is the emergence of a multi-polar economy with hubs throughout the archipelago, rather than a single center in Metro Manila,” he stressed.
Nati said the region’s investment performance has buttressed their confidence in the future of regional hubs, and in Region 10 and Cagayan de Oro in particular. He said he is gratified how Italpinas’ strategic growth plans have long been aligned with growth that the current development now highlights.
“Following the success of Primavera Residences, we are now nearing the completion of the construction of the first phase in our next project in Cagayan de Oro, Primavera City,” Nati disclosed. “Primavera City, which is planned for development in 4 phases, is designed to be a world-class commercial and residential hub featuring Italpinas' signature aesthetics and green design philosophy.”
“As a design-driven developer with our track record rooted in Northern Mindanao, Italpinas is committed to Region 10's growth story by continuing to deliver world-class architecture, aesthetic, and lifestyle to Cagayan de Oro and beyond.”
The Board of Investments Region 10 office will provide a more detailed breakdown of the planned projects once this has been transmitted from the BOI head office where most big-ticket projects are usually registered.
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