Investment pledges in Mindanao dropped 61.3 percent in the first six months of 2017 to P6.87 billion from P17.74 billion year-on-year.
Data from the Board of Investments showed that Regions 10 to 12 registered slower growth during the period, except for Region 13 where investments doubled to P1.35 biÄºlion.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez attributed the decline to “ill timing.”
“Based from the people we spoke, there’s still strong interest in Mindanao given strong fundamentals and the strong promise of Mindanao especially on agro-processing, manufacturing and property development,” he said.
He declined to acknowledge comments that Mindanao was a high risk area for investors, especially with the ongoing battle between government forces and Muslim extremists and the declaration of martial in the whole island.
Investment commitments in Region 10 plunged 81 percent to P1.38 billion from P7.3 billion on year.
Region 11’s investments shrank 50 percent percent to P3.21 billion from P6.38 biÄºlion while those in Region 12 plummeted 77 percent to P927.8 miÄºlion from P4 billion a year ago.
Despite slower growth in Mindanao, the BoI remains optimistic it will hit the P500-billion investments target by the end of 2017.
Total approved investments to mid-July hit P272.7 biÄºlion, or just above 50 percent from the agency’s target for 2017.
An additional investment worth P18 biÄºlion is expected to boost the figure by the end of July to P290 billion.
President Rodrigo Duterte plans to extend martial law Mindanao to defeat Islamist militants who have seized a major city, as critics warned the country could be edging towards a dictatorship.
Duterte had imposed military rule for 60 days in the Mindanao, home to 20 million people, after gunmen waving black Islamic State flags occupied Marawi City on May 23, triggering clashes that have killed more than 550 people. With AFP