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Davao heading to economic development despite pandemic

/ 03:59 AM September 06, 2021

DUMAGUETE CITY—Despite the gloom brought about by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, investors remained optimistic about Davao region’s path towards development.

Local businessmen recently launched Davao Investment Conference 2021, which seeks to showcase the region’s innovations in learning, real estate, tourism, and agri-business, positioning it as an investment partner for industry leaders in and outside the country. During the conference’s virtual launching, real estate leader and conference chair Ricardo Floirendo Lagdameo said they were seeing a lot of growth opportunities in Davao region.

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“Davao has become ripe for many types of investments and despite the pandemic, Davao region posted a 7.6-percent [economic] contraction, beating the national average, which was a 9.6-percent contraction,” he said in his keynote speech.

During the pandemic, Lagdameo said industries in Davao, considered the cacao capital and food basket of the Philippines, continued to thrive and were still operating as quarantine restrictions have not been as strict as those imposed in the National Capital Region and its neighboring provinces.

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“Investing in Davao can take us to the future. The only way we can get to showcase investment opportunities is to focus on the whole Davao region,” he said.

Davao region consists of the Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley provinces and the cities of Davao, Panabo, Tagum, Digos and the Island Garden City of Samal.

Lagdameo said the Davao region had consistently beat the country’s average economic growth rate.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that Davao region expanded its economy by 10.9 percent in 2017, before contracting by 7.6 percent in 2020 because of the unprecedented pandemic.

“It’s been this type of growth that has brought many national and international companies to locate in the (Davao) region,” Lagdameo said.

“Not only is the region one of the leaders in world export of fresh bananas and pineapples. Today, it is home to one of the country’s busiest container terminals, a center for excellence for the BPO (business process outsourcing) industry, home to several international hospitality brands, and home for one of the most important regions for township development,” he said.Lagdameo believed that the region has become competitive, not just with the rest of the country, but also compared to the rest of Southeast Asia.

“Investing in Davao can take us to the future where there is financial inclusivity, people-centric and livable cities, green and renewable energy sources, allow industry growth and innovation, and more,” he said.

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Three webinars about the innovations of Davao region’s key industries are lined up in preparation for the Davao Investment Conference 2021’s main event, which will be held on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12.

President’s daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who formally opened the event, likewise highlighted the region’s vast opportunities for growth and development.

“We will need these economic prospects as we continue to move forward beyond this pandemic and cement the region’s role in the Philippines and in the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) community,” the mayor said during the virtual launch.

“Let us continue to work together so that the Davao region which is strong today, emerges stronger tomorrow,” she added.

Urban planning expert Felino Palafox Jr. explained how Davao can become among the world’s sustainable and livable cities.

“We hope to change the paradigm: Mindanao is not just the backdoor of the Philippines but the front door of the Philippines,” he said. INQ

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