Saturday, September 02, 2006

15th Mindanao Business Conference Opens In Zamboanga City

Dr Graciano Yumol, left, Science Undersecretary; Eugene Mateo, center, president of the Canadian mining firm TVI Resource Development Phils., Inc., and Paul Doninguez, of the Mindanao Business Council, during the 15th Mindanao Business Conference in Zamboanga City. TVI has pour more than P500 million for gold exploration project in Bayug town in Zamboanga del Sur province. (Mindanao Examiner)
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Darwin Wee / 31 Aug) Asian trade representatives and Filipino businessmen flocked Thursday to Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines for the 15th Mindanao Business Conference. The 3-day international conference is expected to generate millions of revenues from its trade exhibits, where dozens of stalls and booths were on display at the convention center of the Garden Orchid Hotel. "This will promote our products and help put back Zamboanga again in its old glory; a trading hub and tourist destination in this part of the Philippines," Ismael Ajijul, a Muslim trader, who sells hand-woven Yakan cloth, told the Mindanao Examiner. Mayor Celso Lobregat, of Zamboanga City , boasted of high economic growth the past years, citing government reports, but statistics were not readily made available. He also said the improved peace and order situation here continue to attract investors. "We have a lot of investments here. Zamboanga has a very sound economy and there are many new establishments. The peace and order is very good and we are happy about these all," he said. The influential Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo, Sharif Ibrahim Ajibul Mohammad Pulalun, is also expected to attend the conference to welcome the delegates and promote the Sulu Archipelago, which comprises of Basilan, Jolo and Tawi-Tawi islands as a trading exchange and investment destinations. "We have a lot to offer. The archipelago is rich in natural resources, like minerals and oil deposits. Tawi-Tawi is a beautiful tourist destination and the whole of the Sulu Archipelago is one place to invest, such as in palm plantation, oil exploration and many more." "Basilan and Jolo are great places and rich in timber and coconuts and coffee and marine resources; and our culture and heritage are similarly wealthy. We welcome you in our exotic land, " Pulalun said in an interview. Teresita Sebastian, convention director, said businessmen from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei arrived in Zamboanga to participate in the international conference. "Diplomatic officials from the embassies of United States, Canada , Italy, Australia and some other countries are also slated to attend the convention," she said. She said among the dignitaries that are expected to arrive here are Peter Henrie Sutherland, Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines; Jon Linborg, of the United States Agency for International Development. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was also invited to grace the closing ceremony on Saturday, Sebastian said. Donald Dee, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was also in Zamboanga City yesterday and inspected different trade exhibits, including the booth of a Malaysian motorcycle manufacturing firm, Demak Motor, which has an assembly factory here. "We expect more than 1,000 businessmen from around Asia and others involved in economic activities and studies in this 3-day conference," she said. The BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia , Malaysia and the Philippines-East Asean Growth Area) Business Council also joined the conference. Sebastian said the participants will discuss major issues and concerns affecting key Mindanao investments to facilitate and hasten trade within the region, and the BIMP-EAGA with other trading partners.

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