(August 2, 2017. Cotabato City.) In the recent 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) Roadshow for Basilan and Sulu held in Zamboanga City organized by the Regional Board of Investments, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-ARMM), the business sector together with the ARMM regional government (ARG) agreed to call for greater investments in Basilan and Sulu.
Sulu and Basilan are surrounded by rich fishery grounds such as Basilan Strait, Moro Gulf, Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea producing quality aqua marine products and fishes. Both provinces have good soil attributes and sound climatic conditions suitable for highly valuable agricultural and industrial crops such as corn, coconut, rubber and many others. These positive characteristics attract investors to come and invest in the island provinces.
Dr. Rima Hassan, Chairperson of the ARMM Business Council (ABC) and Basilan based businesswoman, urged the ARMM government to find investors that can match the local resources and skills of the local folks. “We hope that there will be power plants, milling plants, manufacturing plants and factories that can generate large number of jobs. We want to maximize the sustainable use of our natural resources and take advantage of our serene nature and promote eco-halal-tourism. We have a lot to offer to our investors”, Hassan further said.
According to one of the speakers, Ellen Lourdes Kionisala of BOI-Cagayan de Oro City Extension Office, “the reason why some investors hesitate to invest in ARMM is because of the high risk environment due to the issues of conflict and terrorism that stricken the region for decades”. The latest one is the Marawi siege now on its 10th week, an urban war waged by the Maute terrorist group, triggering the Duterte Administration to declare Martial law in Mindanao. Kionisala said, “This has not affected Mindanao’s economic activities since it is business as usual”.
Lawyer Ishak Mastura, chairman and managing head of RBOI explained that there are investors ready to invest in ARMM. “As of July 2017, we have registered Php3.2 billion worth of investments despite the ongoing Marawi crisis and we are expecting additional Php1.5 billion costs of investments from companies engaged in cacao plantations and other agri-based projects before the year ends, Mastura further said.
On his part, ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman also calls for more investments in Basilan and Sulu. “We want more investments in the region to prevent the formation of lawless elements in these areas, because what brings them to this situation is the lack of job opportunities which can be addressed if there are more businesses that will create productive activities and provide them with livelihoods to support their families. The ARG is doing its best to provide business friendly conditions amidst crisis, Hataman said.
One of the highlights of the roadshow is the awarding of RBOI Certificate of Registration to J. Sayang Shipping Lines, Inc. which was received by the company’s President Mohammad Faisal Jamalul. The company invested in a Php33.5 million cargo-shipping project based in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi to be used for inter-island trade, as well as, cross-border shipping with Sabah, Malaysia. Registered firms with RBOI will enjoy fiscal and non-fiscal incentives from the government.
August 03, 2017 @ 15:16