BANAYBANAY, DAVAO ORIENTAL – The Provincial Government of Davao Oriental and Pionaire Finance Limited (PFL) and its consortium partners led the historic groundbreaking ceremony of the highly ambitious big-ticket Davao Oriental Industrial Park.
The ceremonial groundbreaking of the $27 billion project on March 21 at Barangay Maputi in the town of Banaybanay, Davao Oriental symbolizes the involved partners’ serious commitment to work together for the project’s realization.
Leading the ceremony are Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, Pionaire Finance Limited Chairman and CEO Asllan Jaku along with representatives of other foreign companies.
A day prior to the ceremony, Gov. Dayanghirang, Mr. Jaku, and partners have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during a Business Conference at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City affirming “that the Provincial Government and Municipal Government of Banaybanay would explore all possible means and options and would diligently follow the standard steps required to make 1,500-hectare land area and about six kilometres coastline, be available to PFL and its consortium partners for the use of an Industrial Park and Marina Project,” reads the MOU.
PFL, a Hong Kong-based financing company, leads, facilitates and consolidates foreign investors for the planned Industrial Park that consists of three state-owned Chinese companies namely MCC International Incorporation, Ltd.; Shenzen Energy Group; Dezhou Chemtics Chemical Co., Ltd.; and one US-based company, WaterGen.
First Step to a Long Journey Ahead
Although building of the structures is not to be started until all vital requirements are met, the ceremony, nevertheless, marks the start of the project’s initial stages which involves, among others, the acquisition of land, land conversion, environmental compliance certificates, series of consultations, and the process of proclaiming it as an industrial zone – all of which takes a lengthy process that may even take years to complete.
Emmanuel D. Cortero, Manager of the Ecozone Development Department who represented Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito Plaza on Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony, enticed the Provincial and Municipal Government to take the next step and register with the PEZA.
He mentioned fiscal incentives like income tax holidays that developers may avail of, as well as benefits and incentives for the LGU if the project is successfully pushed and proclaimed by the President as a Special Economic Zone. “Together we can help bring progress to Davao Oriental and generate investments, export and employment,” he said, noting the project as an opportunity to position Davao Oriental as an attractive investment destination for multi-national companies.
PEZA is the biggest investment promotion agency in the Philippines mandated to manage, facilitate, and grant incentives to foreign and direct investments.
A Dream Project to Transform the Economic Landscape
This huge investment being aggressively pushed to be established in Davao Oriental is poised to make the local economy flourish, one that will transform the province’s socio-economic landscape and contribute to the country’s economy.
Atty. George San Diego from the Board of Investments said the industrial park, which would generate huge employment, would also spur many economic opportunities here.
The big-ticket Davao Oriental Industrial Park will open up at least 10,000 much-needed jobs and will provide a new source of revenue for the government.
Governor Dayanghirang, who strongly pushes for the project, says this is a “dream-come-true” for Davao Oriental. “This multi-billion dollar investment will enhance the delivery of our basic social services. It is challenging because we must continue to address the most urgent issue of our times, and that is mass poverty,” he said during the ceremony.
The Davao Oriental Industrial Park will consist of five major industries. Among them is a 2,700-megawatt Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Combined Cycle Power Plant, which aside from providing enough power supply for the industries within the park could also augment the local power supply. There will also be a petrochemical refinery that will use LNG – a natural gas being touted as a clean source of energy that does not cause pollution, unlike coal.
A fertilizer factory which will hopefully lessen the country’s dependence on importing fertilizer products such as urea and a cement plant and WaterGen Manufacturing Facility are among the structures to be constructed inside the industrial park.
The envisioned industrial park will also feature LNG and LPG Storage and Receiving terminals, Regasification Facility; 10 Million MT Storage Tanks and Terminal for Crude oil, Steel Plant, International Port and Cargo Terminal, Light Industry, Textile Park, Mechanical Park, Electronic and Construction Materials, Agribusiness Park, Logistic and Commercial Park, and Manufacturing Facilities for Prefabricated homes.
All of these structures will rise on a land that covers five villages of Maputi, Piso, Cabangcalan, Calubihan, and Causwagan in Banaybanay town.
“The strategic location of our province, especially this blessed town of Banaybanay being the gateway to our province, can readily meet the need of global trading partners as well as the requirements of the Philippine domestic market. We already have the much-needed skills, facilities and the competence to get things done. Indeed, we are now beginning to realize the true economic potentials of our place, but I am telling you that we are far from done. The full economic growth of our province can only continue in a peaceful environment. This is why, from the beginning, we have identified and focused on peace as a foundation of long-term growth,” said Dayanghirang.
Protecting People’s Welfare
The investors of the Davao Oriental Industrial Park are making sure that the community’s welfare comes first. As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, initiatives to put up a hospital, schools, environmental projects, disaster preparedness and mitigation projects, and housing projects and relocation sites are all incorporated in the plan, says PFL.
In addition, the Provincial Government will work for the continuing benefit of the people through a Social Enterprise Program.
Addressing the people’s concerns on the industrial park’s impact on the lives of indigenous people, a series of consultations and public forums have been conducted explaining to the different sectors such as the Jama’ah or the Muslim community, Ancestral Domain community, and local officials, the plans for the Industrial Park believing that respect for human rights is an important component to promote sustainability of the business. The PFL and Provincial Government reiterated that they will ensure the protection and respect of people’s rights over their lands as well as ensure that all environmental laws are being properly complied with.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) assured the residents of the agency’s commitment to protect the IP’s rights and interest while partners from the Philippine Army will continue to bridge the people’s concerns to the government through its Community Support Program (CSP).
The PFL and the Provincial Government emphasizes that the ceremonial groundbreaking does not mean the immediate start of construction of the industrial park as there is still extensive preparation for all requirements to be done first, which may take several months to years. The investors, however, are doing their best to fast-track these preparations as they are determined to push through with the project at the soonest time possible.
“And we have exerted every effort to approach potential flash points of tension in a solution-oriented manner, always keeping in mind that harmony breeds communal responsibility and, consequently, progress for all. After all, only in a peaceful Davao Oriental can business grow. Only with a stable community will our people be allowed to unleash their full energies. With unity of purpose, our collective spirit is fortified. The choice is ours to make and the future is in our hands. Let us all secure that future together. I enjoin everyone to be a partner for the development of the Davao Oriental Industrial Park. And as we work toward the fruition of our plan, I seek your cooperation and commitment to make this province great and the life of every resident better,” he said. Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan and Rhea Shane Laureano