Investors remain bullish about the Philippines despite the imposition of martial law in Mindanao amid the battle for control of Marawi City between government troops and the Islamic State-linked Maute group, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Tuesday.
Rather than hinder business, martial law has in fact assured the safety and security of investors, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a press conference in Malacañang.
“We’re pleasantly surprised that on the business we are not affected, because the investors they really look into the longer term potential of a country and the fundamentals,” Lopez told reporters.
“As we say, we are on a breakout. Investments are up, exports are up, consumer—the consumer bases are getting bigger, we have a young consumer and they are now getting more employed. So, it’s many more years of enlarging consumer base. So very bullish ang mga investors locating here,” he added.
The Cabinet official said he has not heard of any company pulling out or postponing investment in Mindanao.
Lopez noted the feedback from businesses is quite good. Distributors in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro and nearby towns “say they like martial law.”
“First, they feel more secure and safer. Of course, the checkpoint might require a little more time, but they can live with that, they said. They’re supportive. And they said, it’s business as usual for areas outside Marawi,” he added.
The DTI has not received reports that supply chains were affected and prices have gone haywire in Mindanao.
It’s not true that prices of goods have skyrocketed in Marawi and nearby areas, Lopez said.
“We went into the groceries, sa loob ng public market—as you know wholesalers ‘yan— and they all sell within the SRP. So, everybody’s following the suggested retail price and the price freeze that is ongoing right now in Mindanao,” he added.
A price freeze on basic necessities and prime commodities was automatically enforced in Mindanao when President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on May 23.
Duterte declared martial law after deadly clashes between government troops and Maute militants in Marawi City broke out.