IT SEEMS weird to be in Davao. Because when I read the national headlines, the news is about hundreds losing their jobs in Luzon as multinational firms like Honda, Nokia, and Wells Cargo closed shop. But news here in Davao Region says foreign investments have surged to P1.823 billion in 2019, and the third telco player, DITO Telecommunity Corp will put up 175 telecommunication towers in Davao City alone and will launch its test run come July.
It seems we’re living with that catchphrase that says “Exempted ang Davao”. So are we happy in Davao because of that? Let’s not count the chickens before they hatched.
First, about these investments. Not much details were put out in the news from Manila Bulletin except to say the top investments is property development and infrastructure.
But this report came out in 2019. We do note that last year the big quakes happened in Davao and Cotabato Regions and that kind of shaken the condominium dreams of both investors and clients, as some clients who had invested in condominiums have decided to pull out.
We also note that this year the novel coronavirus or Covid 2019 had halted many things in China and South Korea, their economies literally grinding to a halt. And these countries are the major investors here, China ranked second and South Korea third.
There are sentiments of fear as to why Chinese nationals seem to be freely landing (or is it sneaking) here in Mindanao even with the travel ban. Is it because Davao is exempted? And you wonder if these investments also include Pogo?
And these telco towers also raise concerns, from radiation hazards to the environment risks. And we have to take note those concerns that DITO is owned by a Duterte crony, and its partner is reportedly from China.
We also have to note that the basis of these news of growth are investments and infrastructure. But the majority of our Filipinos, the farmers, are greatly affected with the rice tarrification, as production has dropped to as low as 75%. Workers too, are still facing endo and low wages. And the lessons from Nokia and Honda show that there is no job security.
A lesson from the closures of Nokia and Honda shows that investors will come and go, as they will be affected by geopolitics and health issues. The fears of investors are showing because of how this administration has bullied big corporations such as Manila Water and Inquirer into their favor. Investors don’t like interference from governments.
The lesson still is this: investments is the answer, but then, what is the question?