ARMM delivers ‘inclusive growth’ for gov’t. w/ P2.5-B investments in the region
COTABATO CITY. June 23, 2014.The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the poorest region in the country, delivered record private sector investments in the first semester of this year. The ARMM Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) registered seven (7) firms in the 1st Semester of 2014 with total investment value of Php 2.52 billion or 72% higher as compared to the whole of last year worth Php1.463 billion. The back to back investments of more than one-billion pesos for the past two years are unprecedented in the ARMM, known as a hotbed of the Moro insurgency in Mindanao. This year the government signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front paving the way for the surge in investments in the ARMM, which is envisioned as the core territory of the proposed Bangsamoro political entity.
The administration under President Benigno S. Aquino III, through the Department of Budget and Management, has laid down its Budget Priorities Framework for 2014-2016, effectively setting the government’s course in establishing rapid, long-term, and inclusive development before the conclusion of President Aquino’s term. One of the pillars of this program is “inclusive growth” so that the regions that are behind can catch-up in terms of economic development vis-à-vis the richer regions. Hence, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said “The record private sector investment in the ARMM, the country’s poorest region, is clearly a positive step forward in addressing the perceived lack of inclusive growth in the Philippine economic takeoff.”
Top investors in the ARMM are into biomass energy projects.Lead energy investor is the Lamsan Power Corporation(LPC) based in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. The pioneer biomass renewable energy project is worthPhp 921 million. The power plantwill utilize rice hull, corn husks, cobs and other agricultural wastage from its own cornstarch plant with a capacity of 15 megawatts (MW). Lamsan Power will be selling 11.5 MW to the National Power Corporation and the Mindanao Grid.Second highest biomass renewal energy project is by theGreen Earth EnersourceCorporation, a subsidiary company of Agumil Philippines Inc., at the Agumil Compound,Buluan, Maguindanao. The Biomass Power Plant has an investment value of Php 366 million with a capacity of 4.5 MW. The power plant will support the energy needs of Agumil’s milling and crushing plants in Buluan, Maguindanao, while the excess power will be sold to the national transmission grid. Third, is the Philippine Trade Center, Incorporated which has put-up their own power plant to fuel their existing Cornstarch Milling Plant at Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. The Renewal Energy Project with a capacity of 3MW has an investment value ofPhp 486 million. At present, out of the 3MW produced by the power plant, the milling plant consumed only 1.3MW and so the excess of 1.7 will be sold to Cotabato Light and Power Company.
Another energy related project is the importation and distribution of petroleum productsby Power-Up Ventures Inc.. The company is proposing to construct five (5) oil depots in Polloc, Parang, Maguindanao. The company will invest P50 million for the project. The depots to be constructed have a total capacity of 5 million liters or 1M liters per depot. The company’s registration is provisionally approved by RBOI since it still has to comply with some requirements. As such, they will only be given incentives after complying the needed documents and at the start of their commercial operations.
Other investments registered by RBOI this semester are into oil palm, mining and trading. SR Languyan Mining Corporation invested Php 520 million for a nickel ore mining project with a capacity of 1 million metric tons (WMT) per year in Brgy. Darussalam, Languyan, Tawi-Tawi. Agumil Philippines Inc., is set to put-up an Oil Palm Kernel Crushing Plant in Buluan, Maguindanao with a project cost of Php170 million. The Crushing Plant will process accumulated quality palm kernels from its milling plant into Palm Kernel Oil (PKO) for export and Palm Kernel Cake (PKC) for animal feeds. ABSCOR Multi-Trading Company based in Port Holland, Maluso, Basilan has put-in Php 10 million investment for an import and export trading business. The company transacts its business undertakings in the geographic areas of the countries of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines that are under the East ASEAN Growth Area, more commonly known as the BIMP-EAGA.
The seven firms registered with RBOI recorded a total of 1,784 jobs created in half of this year.
Lawyer Ishak Mastura, RBOI chairman, said that “The biggest business opportunity of our time is connectivity and those companies that understand connectivity and engage in building connectivity whether in traditional networks, technology networks or infrastructure will be the winners. Those who build connectivity in ARMM in energy, infrastructure, telecommunications, value chains and commodity flows will finally capture the missing piece of the Philippine market.”(SOURCE: RBOI).