Duterte to businessmen: Invest in the provinces
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday urged local and foreign investors to consider putting up businesses in other areas of the country as he pledged to set up economic zones in the provinces.
Duterte said this was in line with his vision of creating more jobs.
But this time, he said factories would have to rise outside the metropolis.
“I will not allow factories in Manila anymore, not only because it is a dead city but because I have to build a new environment for the people,” he told reporters at Mandaya Hotel here.
Duterte said spreading economic opportunities to the rest of the country was aimed at countering the pressing effects of poverty.
He said that if economic opportunities were readily available outside the country’s economic capital, the issue of overpopulation there would also be addressed. It would also be easier to relocate people living below the poverty line outside Metro Manila, he said.
“Manila is already saturated. I have to relocate them, but before I can do that I have to establish an economic activity,” he said.
He said those who would be relocated to the new economic zones will be enjoying amenities such as hospitals, roads and markets.
“I will ensure first that there is economic activity so if they get there they will have jobs,” Duterte said.
In a report that would be submitted to Duterte, the World Bank said Mindanao alone will need 4.3 million jobs in the next seven years, as thousands of new graduates enter the workforce each year.
The Mindanao Jobs Report, which tells the story of Mindanao from the perspective of jobs, said the figure may be lower than the 10 million jobs that Luzon needs in the same period, but what makes the Mindanao jobs challenge more daunting is the large number of workers migrating out of the island-region to look for jobs. Those who remain are mostly stuck in informal jobs that entail long work and low pay.
World Bank senior country economist Dr. Karl Kendrick Chua presented the report before members of the Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (Mincode) in April, less than two weeks before the May 9 elections.
“We hope to get the report ready. It should already be on the president’s table on July 1, on his first day in Malacañang,” Chua said.
The WB report, a product of 15 months of research and interviews of 1,400 people conducted by 46 researchers, will be presented to the new administration to help chart the development of Mindanao in the next six years.
Chua, the leader of the team of WB researchers who drafted the report, also posed the question of whether there is a need for the government to give a preferential option for Mindanao—as far as budget and development projects are concerned—to free the island from the long drawn underdevelopment and conflicts that had hampered its growth for years.
Based on available data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the WB estimated 1.8 million job seekers in the next seven years to add to the existing 2.5 million job seekers in Mindanao; or roughly an average of 260,000 job seekers per year. With a report from Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao
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