By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – Business owners in Marawi City will craft an economic roadmap for the development of the besieged city and reopen it to investors and generate economic activities, Mindanao Business Council (MinBC) executive director Rolando Torres said.
Torres said that they will support the initiative which would specify the preferred investment areas, industries, opportunities, and developments that they want to see in Marawi City, which absorbed significant damage from the five-month fighting between government forces and Islamic State-inspired militants last year.
Torres said business leaders likewise want to consider the viable developments in areas around the city to be able to spread the development to its neighboring areas in the Lanao del Sur and promote diverse economic activities.
“That will be discussed — the types of businesses, opportunities and developments. The roadmap will help them focus on what industries they will really support,” he said.
Maranaws were engaged mostly in trading activities before the siege, he said.
He added the local businesses are also asking investors to put up an abattoir as they want to push the city as one of the Halal hubs in Mindanao.
He said the city also has a huge potential in tourism and as a major production area for poultry.
He said the city needs more investments in areas of communication, transportation, tourism, and infrastructure.
Torres said the roadmap will be one of the discussions in the planned Marawi Business Conference to be organized by the Metro Marawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Iligan City this year in a bid to encourage investors to have a look at Marawi.
“We’re supporting an initiative of local business group to conduct a business conference. We are waiting for the schedule but we have committed to support them in terms providing access and linkages to the market and invite some investors to look at the potentials of Marawi,” he said.
He acknowledged that convincing the investors to enter Marawi with its current condition would be difficult but he assured the city has huge potential particularly for Halal and agricultural industries.
“The challenge that we want to let the outside investors see that the small businesses in Marawi are up and above and are willing to engage them in joint ventures,” he said.