Philippines: Mindanao conflict impacts new investments

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Philippines: Mindanao conflict impacts new investments

Fighting between government forces and rebels affiliated with so-called Islamic State (IS) on the Philippine island of Mindanao has put potential investments in limbo, although local authorities insist major metropolis Davao City is still open for business. 

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. Photo: Facebook

The violence concentrated in the city of Marawi led to a declaration of martial law on the whole island early last week, which at the time of writing was still in force. 

Mindanao is a major source of banana production for the Philippines, itself one of the world's top suppliers of the tropical fruit.

The Sun Star reports Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio - who is also the daughter of Philippine President Rodrigo Dutarte - told a press conference Monday the unrest on the island had taken its toll on the city's economy, particularly in tourism.

"We noted some cancellations of supposed activities in the city," she was quoted as saying.

The story reports Duterte-Carpio cited that Consul Tomoko Dodo of the Japanese Consulate in Davao City expressed concern over the fact some Japanese investors were reconsidering their decisions to pour investments in the city.

"We advised her to wait, it is too early. We cannot expect the situation to be okay especially there is a real threat in the whole of Mindanao," Duterte-Carpio told reporters, clarifying this related to tourism investment. 

However, a message from the Japanese Consul to the Japanese Embassy has emphasized Davao City is still a safe and good investment destination, the story reported.

"Initially this (Marawi incident) may lead to short term setbacks as investors may be wary of the implications of a state of martial law but as a community, this should be looked upon as a short term sacrifice that will ensure our long term progress," Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry captain Ronald C. Go was quoted as saying. 

According to Trade Map statistics, Philippine banana export volumes rose 14.2% last year to 1.4 million metric tons (MT), with Japan as the leading destination (444,546MT) followed by China (319,285MT), South Korea (238,516MT), the United Arab Emirates (102,074MT),  Saudi Arabia (94,958MT) and Kuwait (50,321MT).

Other key fruit exports from the Southeast Asian country include pineapples (566,928MT) and coconut (92,351MT).

Japan also leads the way in total fruit export value from the Philippines at US$315.3 million, followed by China (US$199.7 million), South Korea (US$192.9 million), the U.S. (US$108.9 million), the United Arab Emirates (US$39.7 million) and Iran (US$33 million).

In March, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julia Bishop raised concerns on Sky News that IS would seek to declare a caliphate in the southern Philippines. 

Headline photo: Jeff Pioquinto via Flickr Creative Commons


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