Is safety an issue in Mindanao? For owners and executives of large companies that are searching for novel opportunities to expand business, this is a fair question to ask. The continued implementation of martial law in Mindanao has created fear in some business owners, potential investors and foreign visitors.

But, contrary to the negative clout surrounding it, martial law has been shown to be effective in lowering crime rates. According to information provided by the PNP, there had been a 36.12% reduction in the rates of eight focus crimes in Mindanao between May 2017 (when martial law started) and August 2018. This indicates that, despite its restrictions, martial law has contributed to Mindanao’s peace and order.[1]

The large budgetary appropriation for Mindanao also signals the government’s aggressive fight for the region’s sustained safety and development. Now, Mindanao is back in business, and international investors have warmed up, looking past the restricting nature of martial law and placing their bet in the Philippines’ southern islands.

Foreign investments in Mindanao

The volume of foreign investment entering Mindanao continues to go up. This steady inflow of investments not only indicates that the fear associated with martial law had been temporary; it also proves that international companies are ready to explore their business opportunities here.

And the bets they are making are not small.

For example, a Russian group is investing Php 8 billion in the banana industry, specifically for a Cavendish banana planation project in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) district of Camp Abubakar, in Maguindanao.[2]

The largest steel manufacturer in China (third largest in the world), HBIS Group Co. Ltd. is also investing $4.4 billion [Php 231 billion] in Mindanao to develop a major steel complex. This is reportedly the largest industrial investment from China to the Philippines. The development will involve two phases. Phase 1 involves the production of $7.5 billion [Php394 billion] worth of hot rolled coils and slabs; this is expected to generate 10,000 jobs. Phase 2 is dedicated to boosting the steel manufacturing capacity; this is expected create 40,000 jobs.[3]

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