Taipan cites CDO’s Global Competitiveness as critical for investment location choice
One the country’s pioneering taipans has cited the global competitiveness of Cagayan de Oro as a critical factor in locating its biggest residential/commercial investment in the country.
Guillermo D. Luchangco, Chairman and CEO of the ICCP Group, said its overall competitiveness was what swayed the group to locate Pueblo de Oro Township in the city.
“Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation (PODC) did not just throw a dart at the board when selecting Cagayan de Oro as an investment site; we actually did a thorough study,” Mr. Luchangco said during his testimony during the Cagayan de Oro Business Forum held 12 February 2014 at the Grand Ballroom of the Intercontinental Manila.
“This study showed that Cagayan de Oro offers many attractions to businesses in terms of economic prospects, availability of quality human resources ready and willing to work, infrastructure and accessibility. It is, pardon my English, a damn nice place to visit or to invest in or to live and work in.”
The taipan said the group had to put a lot of study into the choice of location for the 360-hectere Pueblo de Oro Township, which was the largest single project the company has undertaken to date so they had to be careful in selecting the site.
“First of all, it is the business and educational center of Northern Mindanao,” he noted. “As recently as 2012, the National Competitiveness Council ranked it the Number 1 City in the Philippines in terms of Overall Competitiveness.”
“What struck me first and foremost was what a nice place Cagayan de Oro is,” Mr. Luchangco noted. “I have never yet met a person who visited the city and then said he didn’t like it. I myself call it “Marlboro Country” because of the rolling hills, the river down below and the sea along its northern edge. And yet, it offers the amenities of an urban area so what you have is an enjoyable lifestyle. You have beautiful countryside but at the same time, you too can live in a city, one which does not have as much hustle and bustle as over-crowded cities like Manila. And the people are in general friendly, which is why it is known as the city of golden friendship.
But it was the “hard numbers” which convinced the group to locate in Cagayan de Oro.
He cited the 7.4 percent growth rate in 2012, higher than the national average of 6.8 percent, with higher average annual family income and expenditures (as of 2000 the latest year for such information was available for Philippine cities), both higher than those of Davao, Cebu or the entire country’s average.
As a developer of residential and mixed –use properties, Mr. Luchangco said PODC also found the higher than average concentration of middle income people in the city’s overall population as another plus factor due to the substantial share of trade and commerce in the local economy. This, on top of its agricultural production in its hinterlands and proliferation of fast growing tourism destinations.
Another plus factor he cited is the increasing number of flights being offered by local carriers complemented by the recent move to the bigger Laguindingan Airport which would soon make international air links possible.
The group also noted the relatively good infrastructure like which complement each other such as the Macabalan International Seaport and the nearby Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental which can handle up to 6.5 million metric tons of containerized cargo per year.
“Did you know that because of its location along the northern coastline of Mindanao as compared to Davao’s location on the southern part of the island, goods from the heartland of Mindanao, which is rich in resources and in agricultural and mineral products, can save as much 1 ½ days in shipping time to Manila?”
In addition, the group’s study revealed that Cagayan de Oro also enjoys lower labor costs, power costs with electricity charges lower than neighboring cities or the national capital region, on top of a similarly low crime rate.
Another plus factor cited by the taipan was the presence of 15 universities and colleges with a high standard of education, with the entire Region X having 83 colleges and universities to choose from.
“Cagayan de Oro has since developed into a city which offers many beautiful, comfortable and modern villages for an expatriate, or a Filipino from another part of the country, to live in with his family should his work take him there.
“With the signing of the Framework Agreement between the Philippine Government and the MILF, and the progress being made towards finalizing the details of that agreement, just imagine the surge in business potential of Mindanao arising from the re-direction of national resources previously tied up in military campaigns and the increased accessibility of the island’s fertile farm lands and rich mineral resources to peaceful purposes. Now is the time to invest in Cagayan de Oro and in the rest of Mindanao!