Bangsamoro peace brings investment


THE Regional Board of Investments of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-ARMM) has posted a total of 1.621 billion Philippine pesos ($46.2 million) investments in the first five months of 2014, but investments are expected to reach or go beyond two billion pesos before the month ends.

The first five-month issue figure is 158 million more than the 1.463 billion pesos investments the ARMM posted in the four quarters of 2013.

The first quarter of 2014 yielded investments of 1.451 billion pesos and by May reached 1.621 billion pesos with the entry of Agumil Philippines, Inc’s 170 million pesos Oil Palm Kernel Crushing Plant in Buluan, Maguindanao.

Lawyer Ishak Mastura, RBOI-ARMM chair, says the positive climate brought about by the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27 this year has encouraged investors.

Investments started pouring in after the signing of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) on October 15, 2012. Under the FAB, the parties agreed that the status quo was “unacceptable”, and that they would set up a new autonomous political entity called the “Bangsamoro” to replace the ARMM.

The signing of the CAB is expected to end decades of insurgency and violent conflict in Mindanao.

“Investors view this peace agreement as a removal of the major risk of flare-up of violent political conflict and insurgency in the region.

“We are bullish that investments in ARMM will exceed two billion pesos this year for the first time as a result,” Mastura said.

In the first quarter, the RBOI-ARMM generated investments of 921.56 million pesos from the Lamsan Power Corporation’s biomass renewable energy investment, 520 million pesos from SR Languyan Mining Corporation’s million nickel ore mining project in Tawi-tawi and ABSCOR Multi-Trading Company’s 10 million pesos import and export trading business in Maluso, Basilan.

Agumil Philippines Inc, a Filipino-Malaysian company engaged in oil palm milling, registered with RBOI in 2006.

The firm exports its products mainly to Malaysia. It is operating an oil palm mill in Buluan, Maguindanao.

Aside from being a business partner of over 6,000 oil palm outgrowers in Maguindanao and nearby areas, Agumil is also expected to put up a biomass power plant to support the energy needs of their milling and crushing plants within 2014 or early next year, with the excess power sold to the national transmission grid, the RBOI-ARMM press statement said.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman’s support for the peace process has also helped encourage investors. The RBOI-ARMM press statement quoted Hataman as saying that they are “spending heavily on infrastructure programmes such as roads, bridges and ports in order to make it easy for investors to bring their products to the market, not only locally but abroad as well.

Hataman’s supposed three-year term of office (2013 to 2016) will be cut short once the Bangsamoro Basic Law is ratified and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority takes over in preparation for the regular Bangsamoro government that is expected to be inaugurated by June 30, 2016.

MindaNews/The Brunei Times
Sunday, June 15, 2014



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