DAVAO CITY—All is set for the country’s first industrial summit, with at least three business tycoons confirming their participation in discussions seen to result in the crafting of the first industrialization design for the country, the chief of the oldest industrial estate in Mindanao said.
The industrial summit will be the first ambitious attempt to generate the sparking outflow of big-ticket investment operations toward the regions, and hopefully to reduce the concentration of population in the National Capital Region.
Franklin M. Quijano, a former mayor of Iligan City and the current administrator and chief executive officer of the Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corp. (Phividec) Industrial Authority in Misamis Oriental, said the first summit to be held in Cagayan de Oro City from November 26 to 28, 2019, will also finally draw the attention of the world’s top corporations that are owned and managed by overseas Filipinos.
Quijano told the BusinessMirror he is confident of the nod of one tycoon, whom he would not name yet. Many of this tycoon’s companies are already operating in Phividec. But he said he was elated that three other tycoons eventually nodded, “even though we know them to prefer to go low key.”
“We will not be counting companies and corporations that would participate. We are now going after the participation of the brains behind all these leading corporations in the country today,” he said.
Quijano said this will be the first industrial summit to be held since the heyday of industrial activities in the 1950s, when post-World War II reparations heightened infrastructure activities, and the eventual decline in the 1980s after the failed bid of the Marcos administration to rev up its ambitious 11 major industrial projects.
“This summit will attempt to finally nail down the dreamed industrialization that we all thought back then to be near at hand, but which eventually went puff. Back then during the time of Presidents Manuel Garcia and Elpidio Quirino, we all thought that we would be an industrial nation soon, especially when the exchange rate was at two pesos to one dollar,” he said.
“It was the heyday of economic activity, a boom, shall we say,” Quijano said.
“This summit would try to follow through the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to cut down on the issuance and approval of economic zones in Metro Manila in order to compel industries to go to the regions,” Quijano said.
The summit will be led by the private sector itself. “They would articulate among themselves what business operations they would place in the regions and what they want from government,” he said.
“The President has been known to say that he would take care of the peace and order, and elimination of corruption, so that the business sector can do their activities freely and without fear of their security,” Quijano said.
The government role here, he stressed, “is just to provide the atmosphere for business to thrive.”
The prime movers of the summit will be captains of the industry, from a food and beverage giant and leading airline companies, to banking, telecommunications and real estate.
Quijano also disclosed that foreign chambers here have already been apprised of the move “and they were excited,” he added.
Quijano said he would like leading Filipino industrialists to take the lead in the regional development, “but we already received a lot of inquiries from China, Japan and other countries which all wanted to establish big industrial operations in the country.”
Quijano said he was once shown a PowerPoint presentation of the world’s leading corporations with operations in Europe and North America, “and I was surprised that these were all owned by Filipinos who have not invested yet in the Philippines.”
“These are the investments that we want to tap to rev up the areas outside the National Capital Region,” he said.
President Duterte earlier issued Administrative Order 18 that orders the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) to deny further application of economic zones in the NCR to accelerate economic activities in the countryside.
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