Investment pledges down 63% in martial rule-covered Mindanao
Investment pledges in Mindanao suffered a 63-percent drop to P6.87 billion in the first half of the year, data from the Board of Investments (BOI) showed.
Nearly all regions in Mindanao saw a slump in BOI-monitored investment commitments from January to June this year. Only the Caraga region saw growth because there were no pledges recorded in the comparative period in 2016.
President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 24 after terrorist forces attacked Marawi City. Saying the crisis would not be resolved anytime soon, the administration has sought for a martial rule extension until the end of the year.
The BOI data did not include pledges in the greater Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), where Marawi City belongs to.
Previous BOI data also showed pledges in the south were already falling even in the January to April period, or prior to the martial law declaration, although the drop was not as big as the latest figures.
“Maybe it’s just the timing of project submissions and approvals. [According to] people we talk to, there’s still strong interest given the fundamentals and the strong promise of Mindanao especially in agri-processing, energy and manufacturing and property development,” BOI Chair and Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a press briefing. He said the “promise of Mindanao is still there” even if Congress would concede to Duterte’s request.
“They all know the war in Marawi is temporary, even the martial law is temporary. It’s expected, of course, that if there is a security issue you would probably rethink the timing …,” Lopez said.
Northern Mindanao had the largest decline at 81 percent, cornering P1.38 billion worth of pledges. Soccsksargen followed with a 77.1 percent drop to P927.80 million. The Davao region, where the President hails, got P3.2 billion in investment pledges, a nearly 50 percent drop.
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