By: Maya Padillo
Publication: Edge Davao
January 11, 2022
For the majority of Dabawenyos, the year 2021 was a year of uncertainty and unseen loss due to the Covid-19 pandemic — loss of lives, livelihoods, jobs, and opportunities. But for the optimists, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
The Covid-19 pandemic may be a bad reminder of all of its highlighted challenges, however, it also defined opportunities for some regions like the Davao Region, which is now being considered one of the Philippines’ economic pillars at the start of 2022.
With the reopening of businesses, continuous rollout of vaccinations and booster shots, and confidence of local businessmen in the Davao Region, despite the threat of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, optimism is high that the region’s economy will bounce back stronger, brighter, and faster than it is expected.
“Davao Region has always been resilient and the strong partnership of both public and private sectors have always been a key driver in implementing innovations, real actions, and solutions that will benefit all,” said Nicole Hao Bian-Ledesma, co-chair of the Davao Investment Conference 2021 (Davao ICon 2021) and chief operating officer of JIB Schools.
Davao Region is enjoying growth despite the pandemic and this was attributed to the robust manufacturing, real estate, tourism, and agribusiness sectors highlighted during the Davao Investment Conference 2021 (Davao Icon 2021).
Davao ICon 2021 chairperson and Damosa Land’s CEO Ricardo “Cary” Lagdameo pointed out that the region’s growth will serve as a major draw for investors before and after the pandemic.
“We grew by an average of 5.5 percent — better than the average of 4.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) over the same two decades. In the 10 years before the pandemic, Region 11’s average growth was even more impressive at 7.3 percent, hitting a high of 9.2 percent in 2016, and faster than the national GDP growth rate of 6.4 percent,” he said.
Townships, mixed-use developments, and subdivisions are thriving in Davao Region but what is seen as investment magnets are the important infrastructure developments namely the Davao City Bypass Road, the Davao Coastal Road, the Mindanao Railway, and the expansion of the Davao International Airport (DIA).
“The staging of the Davao ICon had successfully proven that Davao Region remains to have a robust economy amidst the pandemic – Davao remains to be the 5th biggest economy in Mindanao as of 2020,” Ledesma said.
Business leaders agreed that real estate, tourism, manufacturing, and agribusiness have been increasingly drawing in investments in Davao Region.
“The discussion and sharing of success stories have highlighted the diversified economy of Davao. This has greatly boosted economic morale and investors are now eyeing opportunities most especially in the real estate, manufacturing, tourism, and agribusiness industries,” Ledesma said.
With the pandemic still playing a predator, Davao Region aims to continue welcoming more investors and new businesses.
“The challenges we face today embolden us to build a stronger region for the future. We welcome change and leverage technology in the pursuit of development in the areas of real estate, tourism, manufacturing, and agribusiness,” said Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in her speech during Davao ICOn 2021.
Nearly two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, business leaders and chief local executives of the local government units (LGUs) in the Davao Region are heading into 2022 and who are facing the strong headwinds of the Omicron variant are hopeful that some good will come out of this very difficult time in the city, region, and country.