Casualties of Marawi war: CDO theme parks
Among the casualties of the war in Marawi City were plans to build two theme parks, each worth around P1 billion, in Cagayan De Oro City, according to an official of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).
Elmer Francisco, adviser to the director general of Peza for North America and Asean, said proponents of the theme parks—Cartoon Network and Six Flags—had planned to build in Cagayan De Oro City, but changed plans because of the ongoing siege of Marawi by terrorists belonging to the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf.
The proponents, Francisco said, had instead expressed interest in building their theme parks in suitable locations in Central Luzon.
“It’s regrettable,” Francisco told Inquirer. He, however, expressed relief that “they did not totally back out.”
“We were able to redirect them to Central Luzon,” he said. “There will still be many Filipinos who will benefit from the projects,” he added.
“But it is a big loss to Cagayan de Oro and the rest of Mindanao,” said the Peza official.
Cagayan de Oro, he said, lost “tens of thousands of potential job opportunities” and revenue from the “indirect impact” of the projects on hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
“Since we’re talking about two theme parks, that’s times two,” he said.
The losses, he said, included potential earnings from the construction of the theme parks which would have taken at least three years.
“That’s automatic jobs for Filipinos,” he said. “Once the theme parks become operational, these are more jobs for Filipinos,” he added.
Peza, he said, had been trying to generate jobs in Mindanao, heeding policy to bring employment closer to where workers lived, especially in rural areas, and to reduce congestion in Metro Manila.
Francisco said he and many investors welcomed President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao, though.
But the continued operations of terror and crime groups “are making our jobs at Peza harder,” he added.
He said one of martial law’s biggest benefits would be to swiftly restore peace and order in areas struck by terrorist groups.
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