DAVAO CITY–A number of Manila-based Australian investors are looking beyond the National Capital Region to find business opportunities, the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines said.

Ambassador Amanda Gorely said this in an interview shortly before the opening program of the Philippines-Australia Friendship Day celebration held at the SM Lanang Premier in Davao City on 26 May 2018.

“Once they come into the Philippines they realise it is not all Manila because there are other opportunities in other parts of the country too,” Gorely said.

“Although I am not sure but I think there is a tendency by Australian business people to focus on Manila when they think about the Philippines because it is where the biggest market is,” she added.

She said a number of NCR-based Australian companies have already expressed intention to put up shop in other locations, such as Cebu and Mindanao areas.

She pointed out that several Australian firms have business interests in Mindanao’s mining sector, though she conceded that Australia still has “some works to do to encourage further Australian interest” in the countryside.

“We have to educate people on what opportunities are here to consider beyond Manila and Cebu. And I think Davao is the next place to come,” she said.

A huge potential, she said, is Mindanao’s rising cacao industry – citing the popularity of chocolate products in Australia. She pointed out that a number of cacao farmers benefitted from the Australian scholarship — where farmers were provided insights on marketing and packaging of their products.

Another active partnership is the collaboration between the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) on a mango research centre in the Island Garden City of Samal.

The research centre was established eight years ago, focusing on raising the skills and knowledge of local growers for them to tap overseas markets.

Among the activities marking the 72nd anniversary of the Philippines-Australia Friendship Day include the unveiling of Australian corner in the Davao City Library, the turnover of books and educational materials to several public schools and handover of a grant to the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

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The embassy also hosted a lecture on how Filipinos can study in Australia, as well as mall tours highlighting the accomplishments of Australian-educated Filipino entrepreneurs. A concert capped the event featuring Filipino and Australian singers. (Digna Banzon/PNA)

Related: CNN’s interview with Ambassador Amanda Gorely

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