By URIEL C. QUILINGUING
Contributing Editor .
PRIVATE sector investments in northern Mindanao went down to P29.56 billion last year from P33.410 in 2017 or a decrease of 11.53 percent, a trade department official said.
Maricris Gabia, business development division chief of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Region 10, said the drop was primarily due to planned expansions that were “put on hold.”
During a media forum on the first-quarter regional economic situationer at National Economic and Development Authority here on Thursday, Gabia said the agency believes that investors’ confidence in northern Mindanao remain high because of last year’s P200 billion worth of pledged investments which are likely to be infused into the regional economy starting this year.
Of the P29.56 billion investments in 2018, 52 percent of the amount came from the infrastructure services sector which compromises the construction of malls, hotels, warehouses, commercial and residential buildings.
Mining and metallurgy, and energy sectors shared 11.9 and 10.1 percentages of total 2018 investments, respectively.
Other sectors and their percentage distribution to the region’s total infusion of fresh capital were agri-based services, 8.7 percent; trading, 6.1 percent; and consumer manufacturing, 2.4 percent.
Misamis Oriental, including the cities of Cagayan de Oro, El Salvador and Gingoog, received 72.5 percent or P21.4 billion of regional investments last year.
Bukidnon cornered 22.2-percent share of the investment pie, largely through the agri-business ventures, among these were pineapple, papaya and banana plantations.
Gabia said these private sector investments helped northern Mindanao’s gross regional domestic product to grow by seven percent in 2018.
Earlier, Neda regional director Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño said the region’s strategic geographic location makes northern Mindanao as the transshipment hub of southern Philippines.
Cariño said that aside from its location comparative edge, the region has relatively cheap and stable source of electricity and highly skilled labor force.
Other than the pledges, the DTI-10 official said the small and medium enterprises “have been breaking in into the export market, among these are processed fruits, toys and hand-crafted paper products.
She said DTI is aware that traditionally coco-based products such as crude coconut oil and oleo-chemicals represent 66 percent of the region’s exports.
Gabia said that this being so, when global demand for copra, coco-based products and their derivatives went down last year, those directly engaged in these were cautious in infusing in fresh capital. As a result, exports of agricultural products dropped slightly last year to P870.01 million from 981.21 in 2017.
Based on DTI records, the top three markets for exports from Region 10 in 2018 were Japan (21 percent), United States (17.39 percent) and China (12.78 percent). Included in Top 10 are Netherlands, Spain, South Korea, Malaysia, United Kingdom, India and Italy.