MANILA, Philippines – Government officials are still positive in the economic potential of Mindanao despite the standoff between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the government force.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima stated during the bi-annual Philippine economic briefing on September 17 that the government is doing its best to regain peace in Mindanao in order to attain its complete economic potential that will eventually help the country’s positive economic growth.
“We’re dealing with a manageable group, more and more territories are being recovered by the government. It’s taking long because of our primordial task of protecting lives. I don’t think this will drag on. The situation has considerably minimized,” Purisima said.
Mindanao is known for its sardine industry and eighty percent of their production comes from Zamboanga which is considered as one of the trade point in the region. The city is identified with its sardine, seaweed and rubber production.
He even emphasized that Mindanao adds up to the country’s total annual agricultural production for about 40 percent and its gross local product by 20 percent.
“The country recently exported for the first time bananas to the US and those came from Mindanao,” he said.
Investors on the lookout
Notwithstanding the situation in Zamboanga, both local and foreign investors are still confident with the Philippine economy. The government affirmed that this is the best time for them to grab the opportunity to attract more investors.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco reported that economic officials are regarding its impact on the economy.
Tetangco even highlighted that Philippine economy has exceed the government expectations and improved in retaining the low prices of commodities.
“The international recognition we have achieved so far is a show of faith in what Philippine has accomplished and committed to achieve going forward,” Tetangco added.
Possible disclosure of commercial establishments
Several labor and business leaders ask for the government to resolve the standoff in Zamboanga immediately since it has already stopped its money circulation at around P50 billion.
“With no production for almost two weeks these businesses may permanently shut down,” Federation of Free Workers (FFW) president Sonny Matula said.
Matula admitted that the Zambo crisis has been affecting a lot of workers because they have not been receiving their salaries.
He stressed that the situation can’t go on any further.
As of now, local businessmen are monitoring the government on how they will resolve the issue.
Nevertheless, the government assures the business sector on the economic stability of the country.
Raniza K. Darole
ABCom, Leyte Normal University