Investors remain bullish about the Philippines despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to declare martial law in Mindanao due to the outbreak of fighting in Marawi City between government troops and the Islamic State-linked Maute group, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Tuesday.
In a press conference in Malacanang, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the declaration of martial law in Mindanao has not hindered business but in fact assured investors’ safety.
“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 up, exports up, consumer — the consumer basis getting bigger, we have a young consumer, and 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 DTI chief said he has not heard of any company pulling out or postponing investments in Mindanao.
“When it comes to investments, I think ‘yung investors ay tuloy naman [the investors continue to come in]. And so far, I think, even on the feedback on martial law… We went to Iligan, I went to Iligan and even Cagayan de Oro and the towns nearby, and talking to the, those with depots, distributors, they say they like martial law,” Lopez said.
“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 the Marawi,” he added.
Lopez said the DTI also has not received reports of dwindling supply and skyrocketing prices in most of Mindanao where a freeze was in effect.
“That’s why I went there to really check myself. And that’s not true. I can tell you,” Lopez said, as he clarified the “skyrocketing” rice prices reported in Marawi City and nearby areas.
“We went into the groceries, sa loob ng public market as you know wholesalers ‘yan, and they all sell within the SRP also. 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 after Duterte declared martial law, the DTI said.