EU: €125-M investments
sure to roll out for Mindanao
By Monsi A. Serrano
It’s a commitment the European Union (EU) intends to keep: €125 million in investments for Mindanao, in a bid to advance economic growth to assist the Philippine government’s peace initiatives in the country’s fractitious southern region.
And there was no better affirmation of this commitment than the visit made by the EU ambassadors, headed by EU Ambassador Franz Jessen, in Davao City last weekend to attend the Davao Investment Conference dubbed as Davao ICON.
Speaking to THEPHILBIZNEWS, Antonio Peralta, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce Philippines-Southern Mindanao Business Council (ECCP SMBC), said that the visits of the ambassadors is a reaffirmation of EU’s commitment to the rural and regional economic development in the Southern Philippines.
“EU has been very keen in developing the countryside, and under the leadership of Ambassador Franz Jessen of the European Union as well as other members of the State, we are very optimistic of the transformation that will happen here in Southern Philippines,” the Chairman of ECCP SMBC added.
“We are truly delighted about this gesture from the EU. At the same time we are also inspired and encouraged that Mayor Sara Duterte is supportive in all our endeavors,” Peralta added.
“We need the support of all the stakeholders from all sectors, and this is the essence of collaboration. And in any collaboration, even the most complex and gigantic tasks, everything becomes easy and achievable,” he said.
“In whatever we are doing now on the growth and development in our areas, we make sure everyone is given the opportunity to learn and grow with us and through our program. From large farmers cooperatives, Muslim owned businesses, tribal owned businesses, and we have been very effective on this. Having EU with us would certainly jumpstart whatever we plan to do here in Southern Philippines,” Peralta shared to THEPHILBIZNEWS.
From Davao City, Peralata and his ECCP SMBC group are all in Cotabato City to meet other ECCP members and find out how the inclusive countryside development will take place especially in the conflict areas.
“We are very grateful for the EU’s generosity and we are very happy to know that EU pouring in 125 million euros for the BARRM area,” Peralta concluded.
Ambassadors Franz Jessen (European Union), Jozsef Bencze (Hungary), Saskia de Lang (Netherlands), Harald Fries (Sweden), Charges de Affaires, a.i. Mihai Sion (Romania) and Special Envoy to the EU Mr Avelino Cruz attend this year’s Davao ICON and they also visited various famous places in Davao such as Philippine Eagle Foundation and other tourists destination in Davao.
For his part, EU Ambassador Jessen said, “The recent visit in the Davao was a reaffirmation of our commitment and willingness to identify possible investment ventures or trade partnerships between the EU and the Southern Philippines.”
“The EU continues to see the Philippines as a large, fast growing market although there is further room for the latter to intensify and to mobilize EU traders and investors in line with the size and potentiality of the Philippine market”, he added.
The EU Ambassador is also hopeful that in the near future, there would be more European businesses that will invest in the Philippines to help create more quality jobs for the Filipinos. At the same time, Ambassador Jessen will also urge Filipino business executives and entrepreneurs to maximize the trade benefits.