The former head of the Mindanao Business Council (MBC) said giving foreign investors the right to own land properties is not the lone come-on for the Philippines to lure more direct foreign investments.
Businesswoman Joji Ilagan Bian said there is need to clear up several factors that send foreign investors to pour investments in other Asian countries than the Philippines.
Bian, former chairman of the biggest association of Mindanao companies in the early 90s, cited the factors that place the country at the bottom of the list of investors as, among others, red tape, labor cost, corruption, industrial peace and unclear government policies.
Compared to other countries, we have a higher level of corruption, slow in processing government permits and has higher cost of labor, she said. Bian also said investors are wary about labor strikes and government policies that change in mid-stream.
The House of Representatives has been toying with the idea of amending the economic provisions of the Constitution to allow foreigners to own lands and open several industries to foreign capital.
While supporting the move, Bian said legislators and economic planners should look beyond the issue of land ownership and confront stumbling blocks that drive away foreign investments.
Nevertheless, Bian, guesting on December 22, in Bombohanay program in Bombo Radyo hosted by Brix Flores, predicted that year 2016 would be a good year for the Philippines particularly for Mindanao and Davao City where she is based and where she is among key figures in the city’s economic landscape.
If the negative factors that stymie foreign investors are cleared, Bian said the Philippines faces a bright future especially under the Asean Integration program of the Brunei- Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines/East Asean Group Area (BIMP/Eaga).
BIMP-Eaga is a sub-regional grouping aiming to make the Asean region as an economic power.
The Asean Integration would compress the Asean countries into a single economy through intensified cross-country exchanges in business, trade and industry and tourism, among others.
We are the most prepared for the integration, said Bian, founder of the pioneering tech-voc school Davao City-based JIB Career, who as then chair of the MBC sat in key planning committees during the early days of the BIMP/Eaga.
Bian speaks highly of the economic stride of Davao City which under the leadership of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has become Mindanao’s fastest growing metropolis.
Year 2016 would be a good year for the Philippines, especially Davao City, said Bian.