Martial law delays Japan investors’ Mindanao plans

Published by rudy Date posted on June 26, 2017

By Maya M. Padillo, Businessworld, Jun 26, 2017

DAVAO CITY — The Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Mindanao, Inc. (JCCMI) said investors had put on hold their plans in Mindanao as the situation and the possible outcome remain unclear while the southern islands are under martial law.

JCCMI President Keisuke Nakao, in an interview, said the chamber recently held a special membership meeting and invited Lieutenant-General Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, head of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), to ask for “correct information” that they can send out to fellow Japanese investors.

The EastMinCom covers the entire regions of Davao and Caraga, and parts of Northern Mindanao, including Cagayan de Oro City, and South Cotabato-Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-General Santos City (Soccsksargen).

Mr. Nakao said his fellow businessmen who had visited Davao recently and had been eager to venture here, and those who have investments in other parts of the country, had become uncertain of their next move. The investors include those doing business in Metro Manila and Cebu, he added.

“They are holding their interests now because of the declaration of martial law. What we want to have is the correct information that we can give to the delegation not just the scatterings and unfounded information,” he said.

The potential investors have been looking at ventures in construction, manufacturing and agribusiness.

“These are all affected because everybody stops coming here because of the martial law,” Mr. Nakao said.

At the same time, the JCCMI head said the manufacturing industry in Mindanao should be promoted given the available resources for processing.

“All manufacturers should be here, making and putting money here. Also to have strong structures in this region, there’s agribusiness and service, but no manufacturing,” he said.

Following the meeting with the EastMinCom commander, Mr. Nakao said the businessmen were expecting to receive regular updates, which they, in turn, can send out to other investors.

“We are hoping to send positive information to the investors,” he said.

For his part, Mr. Guerrero assured the Japanese businessmen that security measures are in place, citing an initiative called “Critical Investment for Infrastructure Protective Security Operations,” wherein military, police as well as auxiliary forces are organized to look after the business sector.

“I have talked to the governors, businessmen, some outsiders who have been able to see here in Mindanao, and they say they don’t even feel that martial law is implemented here. But one thing is for sure, we are trying to balance security measures and also trying to project that we remain peaceful,” Mr. Guerrero said.

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