Rough Cuts | The uncomfortable truth

THIS news item is worth pondering by our government officials.

And we are talking of the reported slowdown in the real property business sector in Davao City due to Martial Law that is still in place in Mindanao.
Yes, many sectors then were claiming that the continued imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao has not at all affected the business climate in this southern island of the country. And they based their assertion on their observation that development in Mindanao’s leading cities like Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, and Zamboanga did not appear stunted.
Personally, we agree with that claim of the concerned sectors. And our reason for conforming with that observation is the seemingly untrammeled economic growth of Davao City despite talks that the President’s birth place is not exempt from vulnerability to the creeping spread of ISIS-inspired extremism in Mindanao.
But this report of slowdown in the property sector of business right in the President’s home base by real estate consultancy firm Prime Philippines, could be as chilling as the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Bracing for Impact, a publication of the consultancy company shared by its founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jet Yu during a press conference early this week, says that the property sector of businesses in Davao City has experienced a regression in its growth during the first quarter of 2018.
According to the publication, despite the continued pursuit of local property development brands to go ahead with their projects, developers from outside of the city, more specifically those based in the National Capital Region (NCR), are holding in abeyance their expansion projects in the city.
“The Martial Law stigma has disrupted the aggressive outtake of investors towards Mindanao, which affected growth of retail development in the city and instead push investors towards provinces within the peripheries of Greater Metro Manila (GMM).”
The same publication by Prime Philippines has also disclosed that even office rentals on completed commercial and residential buildings have been observed slowing down. The IT-BPO sectors have delayed their planned expansion. Entry plans of new such companies are also halted.
All these things, according to the publication, are attributed to the uncertainty of times brought about by the government’s non-termination of Martial Law in Mindanao despite the passage of one year after the recapture of Marawi.
But somehow, the consultancy firm appears to be trying to temper the negative impact of its report. This it did by explaining that the slowdown in some business sectors primarily real estate or property, has also its positive effect.
The consultancy firm’s CEO claims that the slowdown can stabilize Davao City’s business situation, more specifically among homegrown businesses which, the executive said, are still overwhelmed with the rebound of the city’s business industry after years of hiatus.
Frankly however, we believe that the consultancy company’s efforts to tame down the content of its report are not enough to erase some Davaoenos’ apprehension that the current influx of purported investors in the city could only be as good as the Duterte administration lasts
This is because until now both the short and long term development plans of the city are not totally clear as to its direction. Yes, there is that mesmerizing infrastructure development plan that covers the period until 2040 that was presented recently.
But what is not seen clearly is what development field the city will fully pursue. Say in a range of 100 what percentage of the plan will the city push for industrialization; for manufacturing; for tourism, for agriculture?
We believe that it is extremely important that the city is fixed with its development direction. It is only by being in such a situation that the local government will be able to determine the appropriate infrastructures and ordinances that are required to support the big push.
The city cannot hope to become an industrial center if it does not have the needed infrastructures like air and sea ports and road networks that make these accessible for the industries’ production requirements and for the marketing of its finished products.
Davao cannot also become an attractive tourist destination if it does not have what it takes to entice the tourists. Malls are not among them. These are aplenty from where the tourists come from.
Agriculture? Well, the lands in the city devoted to agriculture are getting smaller and smaller. It is giving way to the more profitable housing subdivision development now fast encroaching even the city’s highlands.
Manufacturing? Well, its successful inception in the city is still all about appropriate infrastructures and ordinances.
But all of the above need to be backed with support utility services like stable power, water, and communications facilities.
There is no doubt that Davao City is blessed with more than enough appurtenances necessary to undertake an arduous development journey. However, notwithstanding the many experts in the employ of the local government the plan that has been crafted, to us, remains wanting in its definitive direction.

Posted in Opinion