THE stigma regarding the safety of Mindanao continues to hinder investment, Cagayan de Oro (CDO) city officials said.

John W. Asuncion, an economic development and investment promotions officer with the CDO Trade and Investment Promotions Center, said while parts of Mindanao remain hot spots, the security situation varies widely, with Northern Mindanao generally considered safe.

“One of the reasons that really stops investors from coming in is the stigma of Mindanao being chaotic, risky and unsafe,” Mr. Asuncion said on the sidelines of the Cagayan de Oro Investment Forum 2023 on Thursday.

“This is not true for CDO. You can walk around CDO at any time of the day and still be safe,” he added.

Roy Hilario P. Raagas, CDO city administrator, said other major economic centers in Mindanao that are considered safe include General Santos City and Davao.

He cited the case of Filipino-Italian real estate company Italpinas Development Corp., which has been in CDO for 10 years.

“They have started developing condominiums there, and they are expanding. That goes to show that foreign investors are already finding CDO a safe and secure place to invest in,” he said.

The city also announced on Thursday that it has received five letters of intent for its 60-hectare mixed-use township development in Barangay Lumbia.

The letters of intent involve office buildings, business process outsourcing sites, commercial complexes, food centers, community malls, integrated terminals for public utility vehicles, and schools.

Known as “New City,” the project has started land development activities on a P25 billion, 20,000-unit medium-rise housing project of the Development of Human Settlements and Urban Development.

The city is also planning to open at least 30 hectares of the project to light manufacturing, mixed-use commercial establishments, and medical and health facilities.

Four more projects valued at P44.3 billion were pitched to investors at the event.

The projects include the development, construction and operation of a P4-billion CDO City Sewerage project and a P4.5-billion Waste-to-Energy project, both under the city government of CDO.

Two private companies also presented plans for their projects — a P27-billion mixed-use estate by Gedah Holdings, Inc. and a P8.8-billion Aerial Mass Transit System by the Philippine Aerial Ropeway and Cable Transit Corp. — Justine Irish D. Tabile