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Caraga economic boom expected

[ Manila Bulletin Online ] July 23, 2008

As foreign, domestic groups agree to pour in more investments

SURIGAO CITY -- Economic boom is shining in Northeastern Mindanao as British government, other foreign investors and members of the local business chamber of commerce agreed to open more multi-billion investments in Northeastern Mindanao (Caraga region), particularly in this northeastern-tip city in the region, a top local government official said yesterday.

"Our city and neighboring provinces and cities are heading towards economic boom in the coming years," declared Surigao City Mayor Alfonso S. Casurra.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco T. Matugas is also happy over the enthusiasm of foreign and domestic business groups in opening more investments in the province and the city.

British Ambassador to the Philippines Peter Beckingham visited Surigao City last week and conducted series of meetings with the local business sector here. He also met city officials, some overseas investors and members of the local business chamber during his two-and-a-half day stay and discussed business investments from companies in the United Kingdom.

Ambassador Beckingham underscored the important relations shared by the Philippines and Great Britain, Mayor Casurra said.

Quoting the statement of the British Ambassador, the citys chief executive said the ambassador is "very pleased to say that British companies are largely doing business in Mindanao."

Mayor Casurra also said the ambassador’s visit was also a result of mining exploration activities of Anglo American in the province of Surigao del Norte, of which Surigao City lies. Anglo American is one of the largest mining conglomerates in the world.

According to the British Ambassador, Mayor Casurra said the senior directors of Anglo American in London are talking about their investment and "they are very serious about it."

The ambassador’s visit in Surigao City, Surigao del Norte, along with Korean business group last week, was also the highlight of the opening of the newly created Investment Assistance Center (IAC) at the ground floor of the city hall’s main building here, Mayor Casurra said.

Ma. Lourdes Arsenas of the Mindanao Business Council, members of the city council, and personalities from the local business sector were also present during the opening of the the IAC . The IAC serves as the city’s one-stop center for investors looking for information to get them started in doing business here.

The creation of the IAC brought in services aimed at businessmen, providing them with assistance in terms of information to business data, coordination with government agencies and private institutions, and tie-ups with local business chamber and industry associations, it was also learned.

Officials in the city and the province very much welcomed the economic opportunities being showed by foreign and domestic business group. "This is a good sign that we are already taking off economically," said Rep. Matugas.

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