Mindanao agenda sought

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The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) have signed a joint agreement to formulate policy agenda that would promote investments and enhance the business climate and competitiveness of Mindanao.

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The agreement was reached during the just concluded 41st Philippine Business Conference (PBC) held at the Marriott Grand Ballroom in Pasay City.

The PCCI is the country’s largest business organization, while MinDA is a sub-national government agency mandated to promote, coordinate, and facilitate socioeconomic development in Mindanao.

“We commit to work together to encourage investments in Mindanao and enhance further the competitiveness of key sectors in efforts to facilitate a more business-conducive environment in the island-region,” said MinDA chairperson Luwalhati R. Antonino.

Antonino said the partnership with PCCI would also focus on the conduct of policy dialogues on prevailing concerns affecting Mindanao’s business sector, specifically those that involve PCCI local chambers, industry key stakeholders, and trade associations.

“Our goal is to develop and implement trade and investment promotion activities, such as business matching sessions, exchange of information, and market analysis that will support investment-generation in Mindanao.

The deal also aims to strengthen the conduct of the Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon), the annual gathering of the biggest business players in the region and enhance further the participation of Mindanao in the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

BIMP-EAGA is an initiative launched in 1994 as a key strategy to accelerate social and economic development of less-developed areas in participating countries.

“In formulating the detailed work program for the agreement, a technical working group will be organized and represented by PCCI and MinDA,” said Antonino.

She added that training and other capacity-building activities would be conducted among the members of the technical working group to strengthen knowledge and expertise in trade promotion and investment-generation.

Antonino said the PCCI and MinDA have been working closely for several years now in rallying Mindanao policy recommendations through the MinBizCon.

Among these policy recommendations are the modernization of Mindanao’s agriculture-based industries and strengthening of the region’s logistics, power sector, infrastructure, tourism, and natural resource management.

PCCI President Alfredo M. Yao said the 41st PBC focused on building strategies between the government and the business sector to intensify strategic synergies and alliances that would build and strengthen competitiveness in an integrated global marketplace.

“The PCCI recognizes the tremendous potentials of Mindanao, particularly its role in the development of the local economy, export growth, jobs creation, and overall international competitiveness of the country,” Yao said.

He added, Mindanao’s strength in agriculture and agribusiness, as well as the region’s burgeoning business process outsourcing sector, are among the factors that would attract investments, along with the emerging industries, such as construction, infrastructure, creative industries, and research and development.

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