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Thursday, 10 August 2023

P2.4T infra projects, investments bolster Mindanao growth

BUTUAN CITY -- The Economic Development Group of the PBBM Administration highlighted investment and economic development opportunities for Mindanao in the most recent Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) held in Davao City on August 9, 2023.

Continuing the Post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Discussions, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Department of Finance (DOF) aim to bring the PEB to major cities in the country to engage with local stakeholders and update the financial and business communities on the economic agenda of the Administration.

Infrastructure Development, Strategic Investment

According to DOF Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, an indicative Php 2.4 trillion worth of high-impact infrastructure flagship projects are slated to be built in Mindanao. These cover the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project—the country’s first-ever network solution to urban congestion—as well as the Mindanao Railway Project and the Davao City Expressway, among others. 

Providing updates on the major infrastructure projects in Mindanao, Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista mentioned that the 100-kilometer Mindanao Railway Project, with a total project cost of P81.67 billion, is currently in the process of design finalization and Right-of-Way acquisition. He added that the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project, costing P73.9 billion, will be funded with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank.

On digital infrastructure in Mindanao, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John E. Uy shared that more than 1,500 free WiFi sites have been deployed and about 1,200 digital transformation centers have been established in barangays to assist locals digitally. 

Relating to this, National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary Joseph J. Capuno highlighted key points in the Davao Regional Development Plan 2023-2028 including the creation of an enabling environment to promote investor interest through enhanced physical and digital connectivity infrastructure.

Energy Security, Bright Future for Growth

 

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. Area Vice President for Mindanao Arturo M. Milan cited several ‘bright spots’ for Mindanao in sectors such as transportation, infrastructure, healthcare, agriculture, digitalization, and energy. However, Milan emphasized that “energy security has to be constantly present. Otherwise, all these bright spots in our economy will not be possible.”

Concurring with this, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said that “The sectors he has mentioned—I am happy to note that they are all the same priorities on the expenditure side,” as she discussed the Priority Expenditures in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Budget. She added that the government is promoting renewable energy alongside the country’s climate efforts, which will be allocated Php 543.45 billion for next year.

Inclusive Development, Whole-of-Nation Approach

Underscoring the important role of the Whole-of-Nation approach, BSP Deputy Governor Francisco G. Dakila Jr. discussed opportunities in Islamic banking and finance that have sparked notable market interest from local and foreign investors.

Meanwhile, Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma commended the private sector for their valuable contribution to boosting the country’s employment level: “Without active participation, cooperation, and commitment of the private sector, wala po ‘yung sinasabi natin na Whole-of-Nation approach. Kaya po, ang malaking bahagi po kung bakit mayroong ganyang klase ng employment statistics is because you continue to trust the government, especially ang kasalukuyang administrasyon.”

In connection to this, Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. President John Carlo B. Tria mentioned that business organizations in Mindanao enjoy strong relations with their Local Governments: “We work together to bring investment to Davao, and this is a window to the rest of Mindanao.” 

On the other hand, the Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Marlo L. Iringan expressed his optimism for improved delivery of public services and better governance and accountability by the local government units, as evidenced by the Seal of Good Local Governance. (DBM/PIA-Caraga)