Four provinces and one municipality in the Philippines are all saying they are ready to welcome Chinese businessmen and investments.
In separate interviews, the governors of Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Negros Occidental said they would not hesitate to accept Chinese investments into their jurisdictions.
Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. said they are looking to have Chinese investments in tourism and agriculture.
“We will welcome Chinese investments. We want to develop the province and our beaches. We also want investments in the agriculture sector. The Chinese can also provide added value to processing plants in our province,” Umali said.
Umali, who is also a key member of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) council of advisers, said 50 percent of the business establishments in the province are owned by Filipino-Chinese businessmen.
“There are a lot of Filipino-Chinese businessmen in the province. They are now also in the ICT [information and communications technology] and the power sector,” Umali said.
It is in Oriental Mindoro where Puerto Galera, a member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World, is located. The municipality has increasingly been attracting tourists to its beaches and the annual Malasimbo Festival.
Romblon Gov. Eduardo Firmalo also said Chinese investments into their province will also be welcomed.
“We want their technology,” Firmalo said, while explaining that it is what they need to improve the various industries in their province. He also added they need investments in housing and in their coco industry.
Firmalo said that, currently, only 15 percent of businesses in their province are owned by Filipino-Chinese businessmen.
Firmalo said they pride themselves in having some of the most beautiful and unexplored islands in the Philippines. He also said that, aside from coco products, their province is known for marble products and lately on herbal products, noodles and peanut butter.
Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said their province would also embrace Chinese investments.
“Do not be afraid of the Chinese,” said Marañon, who like Umali, seats as an LPP council of advisers’ member.
He said they already have a lot of experience with Filipino-Chinese businessmen, whom he described as good citizens of the province.
“Many of the Chinese here do not speak Chinese,” Marañon said, while adding that Filipino-Chinese businessmen from Metro Manila are now starting businesses in their province.
According to Marañon, the Filipino-Chinese businessmen are in the auto and retail sectors in their province while, at the same time, buying lands.
Although sugar remains the main product from the province, a growing industry in the province is the breeding of gamecocks for export.
Marañon said they produce at least 400,000 gamecocks annually, which are priced at least P10,000 each. He said most of the gamecocks sold end up in Metro Manila or in countries like Japan and the United States.
Aside from sugar and gamecocks, the province also has a thriving aqua-culture industry.
Meanwhile, Marinduque Gov. Carmencita Reyes is taking the cautious approach toward potential Chinese investments going to their province.
“It depends on what kind of business they want to put up,” Reyes said.
“Maybe they can invest in resorts. But it has to be nothing immoral or illegal,” she added in describing the kind of investment they will accept.
Reyes explained that they want to keep Marinduque free from vices, including alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and gambling.
According to Reyes, they also want to preserve pristine ambiance of their province and will never accept any form of high-rise construction in their province.
“We want a development plan, but we do not want to urbanize. We also do not want junk foods in the province,” she said.
Reyes said there are only a few Filipino-Chinese businessmen in their province and that agriculture remains their primary industry. On the tourism side, Reyes said there are plans to establish a Mimaropa island cruise.