South Korean investors to pour P200M in Davao, Caraga regions

Subscribe Now December 14, 2010 at 11:17am

SOUTH Korean investors are expected to invest around P200 million in Southern and Eastern Mindanao as of initial estimate.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Monday said around 60 investors have expressed interest in lumber plantations in Davao and Caraga Administrative regions. DENR Forestry Management Service regional technical director Hardinado Patnugot, over the weekend, said his team has presented to 60 investors in a meeting in South Korea their proposal for "a forestry sector cooperation project" in the form of private-public partnerships to invest in forestry.

While the DENR doesn't know how many investors will sign the agreement with the Philippine government and partner with Filipino forest tenure holders, some of these investors are nonetheless expected to come here beginning next year, Patnugot said during the Kapihan sa SM media forum.

He added that prospective investors, the Korean Wood Pellets Association, have already been to Agusan in Caraga Region last week and have already conducted their feasibility study.

Patnugot said that they have estimated 200,000 hectares of land to be set for forestry based on the area studied by the pellets association and on the amount of area indicated by investors at the briefing in Korea.

The areas of investment offered by DENR to foreigners are as follows: in Caraga Region, the whole of Agusan del Sur and a portion of Agusan del Norte, and in Davao Region, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, and Compostela Valley.

The initial estimate of 200,000 hectares would include lumber plantations as well as areas for replanting trees.

The government, Patnugot said, originally offered the Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) and the Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) agreement.

The South Korean investors were advised to go into partnership with communities, cooperatives or companies granted IFMA and CBFM tenure.

"This way employment for the people is ensured and this would be a source of income for the government as well," Patnugot said. He added that the government will process the investors' requirements since they want to put up their plants as soon as they get here.

Patnugot said one person employed as forest caretaker can be assigned to one hectare of forest to as much as five hectares.

He also detailed that the DENR offered the investors a unique private-public partnership that would adjust to the following factors: 1) the Philippine Constitution's provisions on the Corporation law allows a partnership between the government and private wherein 60 percent of ownership should be Filipino and 40 percent foreign; and 2) the South Korean investors want that when they come to the Philippines they would not be hassled by various requirements and permits.

In Davao Region alone there is an estimate of 400,000 hectares worth of forestry, combining those under the tenure agreements under either IFMA and CBFM.

Patnugot said the DENR is open to the possibility that the investors would invest in areas categorized as "open access," or non-tenured forest lands.


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