COMPOSTELA Valley has become more investment viable as it was recently declared as Conflict-Manageable and Development Ready Area (CMDRA) late August of this year by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Department of Trade and Industry-Compostela Valley (DTI-Comval) provincial director lawyer Lucky Siegfred Balleque said, after the province was declared as CMDRA, more investments started to come, mostly expansion from existing local businesses.
"If you look at Comval (Compostela Valley) now, particularly Nabunturan (its capital town) you can see a lot of developments," he said.
Balleque added that some of the developments that are prevalent in the province are the road networks that were expanded to four lanes.
Compostela Valley, for decades, has been considered as the province that is largely influenced and affected by the New People’s Army (NPA).
"Conflict in Comval has been there, and for us locals there, we do not consider it as problem," Balleque said. He also said that DTI has been doing Entre Peace, a peace and development initiative where partnership with AFP has been made to conduct trainings, seminars for capacity buildings, entrepreneurship, among others to the community living near or within the conflict areas.
In a report, the 10th Infantry Division Commander Major General Rafael Valencia underscored that Compostela Valley was the center of the armed struggle of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)–NPA as its primary source of revenue.
“While the communists through the CPP-NPA and the NDF-affiliated organizations have exerted much efforts to bring the people away from the government through agitation and propaganda, the Armed Forces of the Philippines through our Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) have strive hard and successfully restore the Comvaleños trust and confidence on their government,” Valencia said.
Compostela Valley Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy, for his part, said the declaration was already a great leap for all the Comvaleños, yet he acknowledged that the quest for unity and progress is a continuing process.
Meanwhile, to further position Compostela Valley as an emerging investment destination, a first-ever Compostela Valley Investment Conference (Comval-Icon) 2016 will be staged on October 20 and 21 at the Capitol Building, Cabidianan, Nabunturan, which will highlight five priority industries: aquaculture, banana, cacao, coconut, and coffee.
The two-day conference is eyed to generate some P50 million worth of investments both for new and expansion projects.
"We are expecting 300 participants," Balleque said.
He said that investments coming here will boost the province's revenue collection which may lead to job generation and better income to workers.
The event will be a good venue to converge all industry players to match with potential investors and enablers to harmonize its actions and plans for the development of priority industries.
Patrick Kim Evangelio, Senior Trade and Industry Development Specialist of the DTI-Comval, told reporters that the investment conference is a new platform jointly created by DTI, Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Labor and Employment, Provincial Government of Comval and Compostela Fresh Water, Aquaculture Stakeholders Association, Inc.
Rochelle Otoc, Trade and Industry Development Analyst, for her part, said the conference will have components of plenary session, break-out session, market/investment matching, trade fair, exhibit, industry tour, and familiarization.
“With this conference, we aim to layout viable strategies for the development of local industries such as aquaculture and agri-based products and also to attract new investors on processing and value-adding,” Evangelio said.
He also said that upcoming event is geared towards providing avenue for stakeholders to discuss issues and concerns as well as exchange information on concerned industries and develop, strengthen supplier-buyer relationship.
In its conference briefer, organizers target to increase domestic sales by 30 percent, plan three projects which will be launched by the end of the year, develop and link 10 new markets, form and organize five industry organizations and establish five industry profiles.
Evangelio also shared that the province, through its newly crafted Provincial Investments and Incentives Codes, “provides vigorous attraction to investors to facilitate domestic investments in agriculture and fisheries with the expectation that such investment will contribute to production growth, poverty reduction and food security in the province while at the same time provide developmental benefits through technology transfer, employment creation, access to markets and infrastructure development."