Butuan: Hosting MinBizCon attracts investments

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Monday, July 30, 2012


THE Butuan City Government is looking forward to attract investment as the city hosts the 21st Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) this year.

The three-day MinBizCon is set to be held from August 2 to 4 at the Almont Hotel Inland Resort in Butuan City, the gateway to the resource-rich Caraga region of Northern Mindanao.

"We are looking forward to hosting this event and drawing attention to investment in Butuan City and surrounding provinces," Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante said, citing there are several ongoing business developments in the city, including the construction of a mall and 150-room hotel by a nationwide chain, as well as a golf course.

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"This is a good time for public-private investment. We are finalizing build-operate-transfer schemes for upgrading the ports in Nasipit and Masao, and have worked with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, other government agencies and the local private sector to open up 10,000 hectares of land for development," Amante added.

Butuan City, which has five weekly round-trip commercial flights to Manila and three to Cebu, has become known in recent years as a Mindanao convention destination, with accommodations for more than 2,800 guests.

The MinBizCon is expected to draw 300 participants, including senior business leaders, members of chambers of commerce, government policymakers, investors and foreign trading partners.

The MinBizCon participants will have the opportunity to tour Butuan City's main attractions, which include the Butuan National Museum housing ancient Asian artifacts, and the Balangay Shrine.

They will also have a chance to visit the ongoing archaeological excavation of another centuries-old balangay boat used in Southeast Asian trade routes.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Caraga Director Brielgio Pagaran said the region has strong competitive advantages in agriculture in addition to its tourism and mining industries.

"Among the newer agri-businesses, we have herbal processing plant for the export market that uses local raw materials, and ventures in sago flour and nipa sap sugar production, to name just a few," Pagaran said.

The MinBizCon will have plenary sessions on current public-private initiatives in the energy sector in Caraga, as well as on improved economic integration within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), through the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga).

The business conference is also an opportunity for a broad range of stakeholders to speak with one voice on the region's most pressing economic policy concerns.

The highlight of the conference is the presentation of the annual Mindanao Business Policy Agenda to President Benigno Aquino III.

The formulation of the policy recommendations contained in the agenda was initiated through broad-based regional consultations held earlier this year by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in the cities of Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro and General Santos, in collaboration with Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and United States Assistance for International Development (USAid).

Organized by the PCCI and the Butuan Chamber of Commerce, with support from MinDA and USAid through its Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program, the "MinBizCon" is the main multi-sectoral platform for fostering competitiveness and accelerating growth in Mindanao.

The MinBizCon is also supported by DTI, the departments of Tourism and Agriculture, and other partners. (Bong Garcia)

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