Speech of the ARMM Regional Governor during the
ARMM International Business Conference
June 17, 2014
Sand Bar Lepa, Tawi Tawi
For the past months, the autonomous regional government has been working to realize this event, the gathering of people from the government, the private sectors as represented by the Chamber of Commerce throughout the region, independent business persons, and likewise international businessmen from our neighboring countries.
Ladies and gentlemen, the business and investment climate in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has never been more upbeat than it is today. For the past two years, we continue to experience remarkable increase in the amount of investments that have come into the region. The ARMM is beginning to stand out as one of the country’s most viable investment destinations. We give credit to the favorable turnout of the peace process for boosting investors’ confidence in the region.
But as in any part of the world, a sound economy builds on the foundation of transparent, efficient and accountable governance. And that is basically what has already taken shape in the ARMM. We began reforming the institution deemed a failed experiment and now, we have shown that through determination and ingenuity, the ARMM, for all its limitations, can live up to the intent of its creation.
What we thought was impossible is now possible.
(Example: Through reform initiatives, DPWH ARMM was able to save P250-M as of May 2014 which was used to capacitate the 8 DEOs by providing them the necessary construction equipments and other necessary tools. Because of this we regained the trust and confidence of the National Government and the public expenditure increased P1-B in 2012 to P13.5-B in 2015. Likewise in DepEd ARMM was able to eliminate ghost schools, teachers and students and paid the unpaid GSIS premiums amounting to P2.72-B incurred since 1997.)
As a result of all the sacrifices and efforts of the men and women of the ARMM, we are very glad that for the 1st time, we reached P2.5-B worth of investments in the first half of the year. I would like to congratulate the Regional Board of Investments and the Department of Trade and Industry for the job well done!
What is even more remarkable is that most of the investments that have poured in are in the power industry, particularly in biomass power plants. This means that the investments that we have now are foundations of even more investments in other industries because the private sector are assured of stable and reliable power.
We also like to acknowledge the Province of Tawi-Tawi for being a prime mover in bringing in more investments in ARMM. Its proximity to Sabah allows our Malaysian friends to perform trading activities in the province. The wonderful beaches and other scenic spots plus the effective peace and order measures make it very viable for tourism. It is also very rich in marine resources and in fact, it is the number one producer of seaweeds in the region contributing 48% or 294,595 metric tons to the total production of ARMM. To improve the quality and production of the fisheries industry in Tawi Tawi, the regional government through BFAR in close coordination with the national government, will build the Regional Fisheries Integrated Research and Development Center here.
With all of these potentials, I directed the Economic Cluster of the Cabinet to form a Technical Working Group to be spearheaded by the Regional Economic Zone Authority (REZA) to declare Tawi Tawi as a special economic zone pending submission of requirements by the Provincial Government of Tawi Tawi.
More importantly, as we prepare ourselves for the coming of the new Bangsamoro political entity, we continue to do our best in fulfilling our duties as public servants in order to improve the quality of the lives of our constituents.
Finally, in behalf of the ARMM family, our sincerest gratitude to all the participants who are here today in this very historic first ARMM International Business Conference. We do hope that we will continue to build more partnerships and connections so that every individual will be assured of a better life- a life where access to basic social services is available. Again, let us all work together to make ARMM a better place to live.