ARMM calls for more investments in Basilan, Sulu

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COTABATO CITY: The Regional Board of Investments in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-ARMM), the business sector and the regional government have called for greater investments in Basilan and Sulu during the recent 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) roadshow for both provinces.

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Sulu and Basilan are surrounded by rich fishery grounds such as Basilan Strait, Moro Gulf, Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea that produce quality aqua-marine products and fishes.

Both provinces have good soil attributes and ideal climate conditions suitable for highly valuable agricultural and industrial crops such as corn, coconut and rubber. These positive characteristics attract investors to come and invest in the island provinces.

ARMM Business Council (ABC) head and Basilan based businessman Rima Hassan urged the ARMM government to find investors who can match the local resources and skills of the local folk.

“We hope that there will be power plants, milling plants, manufacturing plants and factories that can generate large numbers 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 said.

Ellen Lourdes Kionisala of the BOI-Cagayan de Oro City extension office, cited that “the reason why some investors hesitate to invest in ARMM is because of the high risk environment due to issues of conflict and terrorism that has plagued the region for decades.”

However, Ishak Mastura, RBOI chairman and managing head, volunteered that there are investors ready to invest in ARMM.

“As of July 2017, we have registered P3.2 billion worth of investments despite the ongoing Marawi crisis and we are expecting an additional P1.5-billion investments from companies engaged in cacao plantations and other agri-based projects before the year ends,” he said.

One of the highlights of the roadshow was the awarding of an RBOI Certificate of Registration to J. Sayang Shipping Lines, Inc. that has invested in a P33.5-million cargo-shipping project based in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi for inter-island trade and cross-border shipping with Sabah, Malaysia.

Registered firms with RBOI will enjoy fiscal and non-fiscal incentives from the government, Mastura said.

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