The Philippine private sector and government agencies have teamed up to lock down Japanese investments in Northern Mindanao by collaborating on two trade missions to Japan in the previous four months to explore possible Public-Private Partnerships through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Osaka Japan .
“The opportunity was given by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) during the 43rd Philippine Business Conference & Expo (PBC) held October 18-19, 2017 at the Manila Hotel,” said Maria Teresa R. Alegrio, PCCI Regional Governor for Northern Mindanao.
“During the 1st Plenary Session of the Japan-Philippines Trade and Investments Partnership: Updates and Assessment, the Minister of Japan announced $9-billion (B) worth of infrastructure projects for the Philippines under the Phil. Government’s Build, Build, Build Infrastructure Program and the intent of 100 Japanese companies to relocate to South East Asia for real estate development, financing, warehousing, food processing and logistics projects .”
In response, Alegrio said the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. (Oro Chamber) organized two trade missions to Osaka in close coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Cagayan de Oro Trade & Investment Promotion Center (TIPC), and the Misamis Oriental Provincial Planning Office. The Japanese side of the two missions’ itinerary was arranged by the DTI Philippine Trade and Investment Center-Osaka.
The first mission led by Oro Chamber President Robertino E. Pizarro last November 21-25, 2017 called on Air Water Inc., a conglomerate with interests in industrial gas, chemical processing, medical equipment, energy, agribusiness and food and logistics which previously expressed interest to explore further the establishment of a logistics hub in Laguindingan through its affiliate Air Water Logistics Co, Ltd., in coordination with Ayala Corporation which owns properties around the airport. A fact-finding team has previously visited Laguindingan to look at the airport expansion and proposed establishment of a seaport by the Philippine Ports Authority in the area.
Air Water Inc. has also expressed interest in importing coconut water and coco sap sugar, which are among Northern Mindanao’s chief exports.
From Osaka, the mission proceeded to Tokyo where they met Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V, who shared the plan of a Japanese investor to establish an AIC Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.
Pizarro was joined by Ruben Vegafria, Past President and concurrent VP for Trade and Commerce, VP Service Sector Pio Baconga, Trustee Manuel Boniao and Exec. Dir. Chris Ivan Lagapa.
The second trade mission last Feb 14-16, 2018 was led by Alegrio, also a past president of the Oro Chamber, with VP for Business Support Organizations Irene Floro and Trustee Jessie Co.
The group held Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings with four Japanese companies (Sojit Corporation, Hasegawa Ltd., Frigo Co, Ltd., and Kato Transport), visited four institutions (Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Consulate Office, DOT Office, Osaka Wholesale Central Market) and Business Link 291(INTEX Osaka) over the course of the three-day mission.
“Overall, the business trip looks promising as we are finalizing plans for the visit of two Japanese firms to Cagayan de Oro , to look into the possibility of establishing an Integrated Cold Chain Facility in Cagayan de Oro,” Alegrio said.
“Another of the firms we visited is also interested in setting up a technical service workshop for the maintenance and repair of industrial machineries and equipments for manufacturing and power plants in Mindanao,” she added.
Most industries and power plants in Mindanao are constrained by the lack of technical service providers which can perform maintenance and repair of heavy equipment such as boilers, turbines, compressors, and blast furnaces. There is only one service provider for Japanese heavy equipment but is located at the CALABAR Special Economic Zone.
Majority of the medium and large industries in Mindanao have to ship their mechanical parts to Cebu, Laguna or Bulacan. With the presence of 7 coal–fired power plants in Mindanao, and many other diesel, geothermal and hydro power plants, and about 300 manufacturing companies in Mindanao, the need for a highly competent and technical service provider is critical.
As a follow-up activity to the two missions, Susumu Saito, Director, International Division Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry suggested the Oro Chamber organize a Trade Road show and B2B meetings for the comprehensive presentation of the potentials and business opportunities in Northern Mindanao. Osaka Chamber has some 35,000 members, mostly SMEs.
In addition, Department of Tourism Attaché Leona Nepomuceno also recommended a parallel event in partnership with DOT, the Osaka Chamber of Commerce, and Osaka Investment Office for a tourism trade show to involve businessmen, hotel operators, resorts owners, the City Government of CDO, and Provincial Government of Misamis Oriental to present Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental’s business opportunities in tourism to include testimonials of Japanese investors and tourists and B2B meetings between interested parties.
[Photo: Oro Chamber mission meets with Sojit Corporation in a B2B event facilitated by the PH Trade & Investment Center-Osaka represented by Mr. Bimboy Latoja.]