The Davao City government teams up with a private company to find ways of rebooting the local economy from the adverse impact of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. 

April Marie Dayap, the chief of the Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC), bared this during a recent webinar on the “Diverse Investment Opportunities Await You in Davao”  organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP).

“The city government, through Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, has been doing a lot of initiatives to help Dabawenyos cope with the pandemic. In fact, the city together with the private sector, a certain company, is currently doing a study on the impact of the pandemic in the economy. It might be done within the month and will be ready for review and assessment so we can come out with strategies on how to reboot (the economy) and go back to its normal gains,” she said.

Dayap, in her presentation, cited the city’s first quarter performance of the year showed a constant positive increase in the number of total capitalization and the number of business permits with a 3.3 percent growth in capitalization.

However, she said the second quarter saw a decline due to the effects of the pandemic. Being a service-driven economy, she said, the city felt the severe impact of the crisis with the shutdowns or temporary closures of businesses, mostly the service sector. 

Davao City’s 40,499 business registrations and capitalization of P272.06 billion in 2017 increased to 41, 296, and P286.59 billion, respectively, at the end of 2019.

Meanwhile, Damosa Land, Inc. first vice president Ricardo F. Lagdameo, also a guest speaker of the webinar, said that business continuity has given the city several advantages.

“Our Covid-19 active cases are relatively low and are manageable compared to those in NCR (National Capital Region). Our ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) period was lifted earlier, businesses continue restarting operations, and we never had further lockdowns unlike NCR,” Lagdameo said.

In real estate, he said, they were able to resume construction operations, albeit slow. But since projects have been able to continue, it also keeps on giving jobs to boost local employment.

Best option 

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Dayap said Davao City remains the best option for investments. 

This is so because the city has:

1. Favorable business climate – vast land area, abundant raw materials, affordable power and utility, high-skilled workforce, typhoon-free weather, and all-year favorable climate; 

2. Convenient accessibility – arterial roads to inter-provincial routes, daily domestic flights at Davao International Airport, international flights (Guangzhou, Jinjiang, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Manado), two government-controlled seaports and nine private seaports, fish port complex;

3. Vibrant economy – increasing capitalization in recent years, biggest local economy in Southern Philippines, Davao Region as a second fastest growing economy in the Philippines, top-five economy in the Philippines;

4. Good governance initiatives – business-friendly environment, Seal of Good Governance, Investment Incentive Code, Investment Promotion Center; and

5. Top-notch Peace and Order Programs – best police office in the country, 1.8 per 10,000 monthly crime rate, Emergency 911, Public Safety and Security Command Center.

“Davao City is undoubtedly bountiful and we have a conducive high quality of life. We are the sixth economic powerhouse in Asia with our unprecedented skyrocketing economy (in recent years),” Dayap added.

Focus industries

Agri-business, according to Dayap, remains the top priority area for investment in the city with its agri products exportation, cold storage facilities, and food terminals, among others.

The manufacturing industry, which has been booming in the past few years, came second and is responsible for the increased local economy and employment.

The tourism industry, although greatly affected by Covid-19, has helped bolster the city’s economy over time and stimulated the local economy and the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Aside from the existing infrastructures, Davao City will benefit from the High Priority Bus System aimed at modernizing public transport and decongesting the traffic situation. 

Dayap said the city and the rest of the region will also benefit from the national government’s programs such as the Mindanao Railway Transit System and Davao-Samal Bridge.

Other priority areas include property development, health, education, technology, eco-industry, and inclusive business activities. CIO