SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: The Regional Board of Investments in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-ARMM) managed to hit by 235 percent its investment target of P900 million for 2016, despite uncertainties brought about by the May 9 elections and the rise in armed violence by criminal and insurgent groups in the region and some parts of Mindanao.
Lawyer Ishak Mastura, chairman of RBOI-ARMM, said that in 2016, RBOI registered total investments of P2.11 billion with the approval of the P1.3 billion palm oil plantation development project of Gintong Agri Corp. and the P811 million worth 8MW diesel power plant project of Kaltimex Rural Energy Corp. The two companies are expected to employ 1,034 workers.
“Since 2013 to the present, the agency has registered P14 billion worth of investment projects in the region. ARMM has been consistent in attracting investments of at least P1 billion per year,” Mastura added.
Other than establishing their power plant in Tawi-Tawi, Kaltimex also plans to expand their electrification project in Basilan and Sulu to address the lack of power supply in the island provinces. Critical to the poverty alleviation role of private sector investments is their interest in addressing power shortages in the region’s off-grid areas particularly its island provinces.
Without adequate electric power, it will be difficult to improve the economic conditions of the island provinces. RBOI included energy related projects in the 2017 ARMM List of Investment Priorities Plan (IPP). Through the IPP, RBOI will be able to facilitate the granting of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to companies investing in power generating projects in ARMM, Mastura said.
The agency has submitted to the DTI-National the ARMM List of IPP to be incorporated in the National IPP for signing and approval of President Rodrigo Duterte this month.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said he is optimistic that with President Duterte giving more focus to the peace and development of the region, more investors will come and invest in the ARMM.
“We already have laid down the grounds for good governance and other interventions needed such as infrastructure support so businesses will thrive in the region, Hataman added.
At present, around 50 percent of investments in the ARMM are agri-based and the bulk of this is located in Maguindanao Province. This also reflects that agriculture and fishery are the region’s largest economic contributors.
JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL