ARMM eyes best practices for ethical investments

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SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: A delegation from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) led by the Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) is on an educational trip to Bukidnon for a three-day seminar on ethical investment practices that began on Monday.

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This is part of the capability-building component of the Brokering Business Investments in the Bangsamoro to Achieve Inclusive Development and Growth or the BRIDGe Project being implemented by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and Hineleban Foundation Inc. (HFI) in collaboration with RBOI-ARMM.

HFI has worked with Unifrutti Philippines Inc., one of the biggest foreign investors in ARMM with its P3.7 billion banana plantation in Maguindanao in 2015.

Lawyer Ishak Mastura, RBOI chairman, said the activity is the first step in the documentation process for setting up the Business Sustainability Framework in the Bangsamoro (BSFB), the backbone of the BRIDGe Project.

“The BSFB intends to strengthen RBOI capacity to develop Bangsamoro-specific business investment standards and protocols that will empower both the communities and business to engage in sustainable business enterprise,” Mastura added.

The educational trip will familiarize participants with the concept and components of BSF, increase their appreciation of its practical application as part of the business model adopted by Unifrutti Tropical Philippines Incorporated (UTPI).

This will give them an idea on how BSF can best be applied in the ARMM.

The ARMM delegation will also see how Unifrutti’s banana plantations, which spill over into the two ARMM municipalities of Wao and Bumbaran, Lanao del Sur, have managed to sustain their operations in a manner that is both ecologically and socio-culturally advantageous to both investor and community.

Highlights of the trip include community interactions and field visits to Unifrutti’s assisted projects through HFI particularly at Tuminugan Farm where the participants will be exposed to coffee, reforestation, bamboo and demo farm projects.

Also in the itinerary is a visit to the Tagbak Food Security Project.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the BRIDGe project is a milestone accomplishment of his administration.
“It’s about time that we define the role and behavior of corporations and partner-communities who wish to make sustainable and responsible agri-business investments in the ARMM” he noted.

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