Mindanao’s rapid growth cited during biz conference

General Santos City – Mindanao wealth and opportunities are being discovred by more and more people including foreign investors, said Tomas Alcantara a business resource speaker during Mindanao Business Forum held recently here.
“This is a sign that more players in the various business industry are coming in to Mindanao which would mean faster growth, beter and bigger oppurtunities as the Mindanao economy continue to grow”, he said.
Alcantara, chairman of the Alcantara’s Group of Companies, showed statistics of the Mindanao’s economic growth from 2001 to 2006 growing by an average of 4.04 percent annually which he said is slower than the national average of 5.18 percent.
It was also noted that about 40 percent of the Gross Domestic Product is derived from Agriculture in Mindanao whcih is significantly higher htan the national figure of around 20 percent.
Some positive signs of a growing economy are the increasing industrial and service activity in Mindanao region. “This is a laudable sign and most certainly a positive sign of economic develooment which means a lot of work of too,” Alcantara averred.
He said that various economic development in Mindanao region have grown up increasingly such as the Sagittarious Mines project in Tampakan municipality in South Cotabato and the other mining developments in North Cotabato, Davao del Sur adn Surigao.
The proposed Hanjiin Shipyard and Ferro-Alloy plants in the Northern part of Mindanao would also bring unprecedented industrial growth in the region.
Due to increasing economic growth, these various projects would have impact on the economy which will create more jobs and generate more income and enhance Mindanao’s local economy.
“These economic development will help boost the services sector of Mindanao’s local economy.
“These economic development will help boost the services sector of Mindanao’s economy especially on tourism and the business outsourcing industry which is now expanding outside Manila,”, Alcantara said.
Alcantara also discussed oppurtunities in biofuel industry since Mindanao have abundant and fertile lands which is now vastly developed for feed stocks utilizing cassava and sugar cane for bioethanol, coconut, palm and jathropha for bio diesel.
“If all these project comes to fruition, thenext decade will truly be promising for Mindanao – well, all these economic developments of course need around 500 mega watt of power over the next five to eight year period”,he said.
Less power intensive but needing power nonetheless for airconditions and lighting of hotels, shopping mall, and call centers, also need some 10MW electricity for its operation.
“Power is a basic infrastructure that drives the economic growth and we will not have enough of it to support the increasing industrial projects that are lined up”, he said.
Alcantara also said that the estimate power supply-demand balance will hang precariously starting next year and become completely inadequate by 2011 if the proposed industrial projects do not happen on schedule.
He said that their estimates are based on a more conservative assumption on the annual growth rate of demand for electricity in Mindanao of 5.85 percent per annum-this is less aggressive than the Department of Energy assumption of six percent- beyond 2010 and 2011.
If this is not addressed now, power shortage will worsen to levels that will result in severe rolling brownouts similar to what Mindanao experienced in the early 90’s.
by Jerry Adlaw Gold Star Daily

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