By JOEY NACALABAN
Cagayan de Oro entrepreneurs have every reason to be optimistic about business prospects in the region despite of countries issuing advisories not to travel in Mindanao after the New Year’s Eve explosion that killed two people and wounded over two dozen others in Cotabato City.
“The businessmen are not surprised to hear advisories coming from Australia and UK.”
These were the statements made by the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce Monday, adding that they are normally the first foreign countries to issue travel advisories.
Despite our great distance from Cotabato City. They say, “It is the primary responsibility of their office to keep watch and make safe the movement of their citizen in the Philippines.
Meaning, it is an SOP thing for all consular offices to automatically issue advisories even if the incidents happened in non-conflict or troubled areas like CDO, according to them.
“Businessmen of the city are still confident that we have the confidence of investors as we have several big investments here in our region,” they said.
BOI just reported that, Northern Mindanao posted the highest number of Domestic and foreign investments in 2018, a total of P228.8 billion, up by 3,063% from 2017 figure of P7.2 billion.
This represents 25.22% share of the total BOI Projects of P907.B across the Country.
“As we said it last year, it’s not only business as usual but “Better than usual,” said the Oro chamber.
Among the New investments in Phividec are : San Miguel Foods, Purefoods Hormeel, San Miguel Brewery , Harbor Bulk Terminal Corp, SMC Shipping Logistics Group and the on going construction of King Heng Steel and expansion of Steel Asia in Kirahon , Villanueva, plus commercial operation of Gardenia Phil in Tagoloan .
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippines remains safe for foreigners in view of the warnings issued by the United Kingdom and Australia to their citizens against travel to Mindanao.
“What happened in Cotabato was an isolated case. Foreigners remain safe in the Philippines,” said DFA assistant secretary Elmer Cato on Thursday.
Cato said the Armed Forces and the National Police are working round the clock to ensure the safety and security of people.
A day after the deadly homemade-bomb attack in front of a mall in Cotabato, the Australian government advised its citizens to exercise a “high degree of caution” in the Philippines overall, to reconsider the need to travel to eastern Mindanao, and to refrain visit to central and western Mindanao.
United Kingdom’s warning, still in place since Dec. 31, also cautions British nationals against all travels to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago in view of the mall blast.
DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said it was only “fair” for the two states to issue travel warnings.
Cato said travel warnings are issued since governments are responsible for looking after the safety and security of their nationals when traveling overseas.
He said the DFA regularly issues advisories for Filipinos abroad to either exercise caution or avoid certain areas when there are reported incidents that threaten their safety and security. (With reports from PNA)