CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY-   The Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, Inc. (ICCPI) and the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce of Industry, Inc. (GPCCI), in cooperation with the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. (ORO CHAMBER), successfully conducted the 1st Northern Mindanao Business Conference (NMBC) on 28 July 2021.

The conference served as a venue for Northern Mindanao to showcase and promote its investment opportunities and growth potentials for the European Union countries to explore business ventures especially along creative industries, advanced technology and innovation, and sustainable business practices, real estate, railway infrastructure, aerospace, renewable energy, and health, among others.

Senator Miguel “Migz” Zubiri started the presentations by highlighting the region’s strategic location, rich natural endowments, investment-friendly and ready local government units, dynamic business partners, and young but highly capable human resources that make Northern Mindanao the 21st century Philippine investment destination.

The senator then presented the significant reduction in poverty due to high growth episode experienced by the region prior to the pandemic by 14.8 percentage points from 32 percent poverty incidence among families in 2015 to 17.2 percent in 2018. This surpassed the 2017-2022 Northern Mindanao Regional Development Plan (RDP) target. The expansion of social protection programs in Bukidnon that were designed to reach the poor and marginalized sectors, substantially reduced poverty incidence among families from 47.1 percent in 2015 to 22.2 percent in 2018.

Mayor Oscar Moreno of Cagayan de Oro City presented the golden features and prospects of Metro CDO. The Mayor bared that Metro CDO is the 4th metropolis of the country and is the center of commerce and trade of the region. With the expansion of the Laguindingan Airport in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental and the Mindanao Container Terminal located within the 3,000-hectare PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, the region will further strengthened its position to be the gateway and industrial core and trade center in Southern Philippines.

He stressed the preparedness of the local governments within the metropolitan area as exemplified by their competitive edge based on the 2020 competitiveness index ranking. Furthermore, he shared the long-standing global trade relationships of the metro marked by the realization of developmental projects and business ventures with Japan, Australia, Korea, China, Italy, and Germany, to name a few.

Region X takes pride of its robust and enabling business environment. Arch.  Romolo Nati attested to the favorable and business friendly environment of Cagayan de Oro City that gave birth to the establishment of the Primavera Residences and Primavera City, two of the internationally recognized green residences in the city.

Dr. Carsten Evers, for his part, emphasized the significant contributions of STEAG’s State Power Inc. in bringing power to Mindanao and to the communities within Villanueva, Misamis Oriental. Northern Mindanao’s strong business environment and efficient logistics system, which are among the key enablers to the economic growth and competitive advantages of the region.

Regional Director Mylah Faye B. Cariño, CESO III of the NEDA-X, as one of the panel of reactors to the presentations, expressed that the business conference is a manifestation of a whole-of-government society and collaboration between the private sector and government in ensuring that a promising and buoyant economic recovery is realized for Northern Mindanao.

She presented viable investment areas for collaboration with European countries, such as the agri-food park innovation – from farm to fork; integrated steel mill (ISM), which is expected to realize 30,000 direct and indirect jobs; deployment of critical ICT infrastructure for efficient and affordable ICT services; waste management and renewable energy; and sustainable settlements.

RD Cariño concluded by saying “We surely want to benefit from the knowledge spillovers of European companies particularly their excellence in business processes, organizational governance, and innovations attuned to Europe’s commitment to be world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.”