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CDO: Emerging business leader in Northern Mindanao

(The Philippine Star) - March 10, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Ranked as the country’s most competitive city in 2013, Cagayan de Oro continues to attract investors with a booming BPO sector that is set to foster the city’s overall sustainable and eco-friendly economic development.

This has been the overall sentiment of economists, government officials, business leaders and investors who attended the recent ‘’Connect and Do Business in Cagayan de Oro’’ investment forum held at the InterContinental Hotel Manila in Makati City.

Economist and former director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Cayetano Paderanga Jr. said that Cagayan de Oro‘s BPO sector has much room for growth, what with the city’s five IT parks are two IT buildings.

‘’CDO had a very good chance to become Mindanao’s new business and financial center. Its thriving economy is sustainable over the long run because it had robust fundamentals: peace and order, stable power, very good human resource and enough investors,’’ Paderanga said.

Romolo V. Nati, executive chairman and CEO of ITPI Corp. (ItalpinasEuroasian Design and Eco-Development Corp.) said that advancing CDO’s BPO sector will also be a sustainable and eco-friendly growth driver because BPO operations produce less greenhouse gases and pollutants than manufacturing, especially if they are located in truly green buildings.

ItalPinas, one of the biggest investors in CDO, specializes in sustainable property developments and green building design. Since it was formed by Nati, an Italy national and Filipino partner, Jojo Leviste in 2009, the company has taken a lead role in creating sustainable property developments in the country’s secondary cities.

Nati also emphasized the wealth of CDO’s human capital. Four of the biggest universities in Northern Mindanao are in CDO: Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan de Oro, Liceo University, Capitol University and Mindanao University of Science and Technology. The city also attracts graduates from eight universities, 70 colleges and six computer technology institutes throughout Region X, or Northern Mindanao. In 2013, these educational institutes produced a total of 23,000 graduates.

“The city also has a rich source of human capital, and the BPO sector takes advantage of this at the same time that it develops this resource even further to help optimize the country’s young educated population as a prime asset,” Nati said.

During the forum, Cagayan de Oro mayor Oscar Moreno invited businesses to locate to the city and neighboring areas, even as he said it was his administration’s goal to make the city Mindanao’s future economic powerhouse.

“That’s our dream, that’s our objective, that’s our mission,” Moreno said.

To boost CDO’s sustainable growth, the local government is seeking private sector partnerships and investments in key agricultural and environmental developments.

Priority environmental projects include the improvement of the Carmen dumpsite, the new sanitary landfill in Pagatpat, the Agusan solid waste transfer station, the septage treatment plant in Pagatpat, an interceptor and sewer system, an eco-tourism park, urban catchment ponds and the reforestation of CDO river banks.

The city government is also seeking public-private partnerships in the following agricultural projects: a livestock auction market, an airport shuttle terminal, the expansion of Mindanao Container Terminal, Class AA poultry dressing plant, a meat processing center, a vegetable processing center, an Arabica coffee plantation and an oil palm plantation.

With 600,000 inhabitants with an annual growth population of 2.54 percent, CDO is the ninth most populous city in the Philippines.

The features that make it friendly to investors include strategically located international seaports, the prime location of cost-effective air, land and sea transit, a steady supply of cheap and abundant power, modern telecommunication facilities, adequate infrastructure, business support facilities, clearly delineated areas for industries and urban amenities.

The booming Northern Mindanao city is one of three Philippine cities being supported by the USAID under the Cities Development Initiative (CDI), which aims to empower secondary cities as engines of national growth.

CAPITOL UNIVERSITY AND MINDANAO UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CAYETANO PADERANGA JR. CDO CITIES DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE CITY CONNECT AND DO BUSINESS DESIGN AND ECO-DEVELOPMENT CORP NATI NORTHERN MINDANAO ORO
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