THE Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has attracted P6 billion worth of investments so far this year, proof of its transformation into a business-driven region.
“The total investment now stands at P6.104 billion, the highest investment level attained by ARMM in any given year,” said ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman.
According to the Regional Board of Investment-ARMM (RBOI), the P6 billion approved investments as of October 31 includes P600 million from Matling Industrial and Commercial Corp. which was approved only last October 26 and P400 million from Maguindanao Energy Farms Inc.
“Maguindanao Energy Farms, Inc. is investing P400 million in a napier grass biofuel plantation,” he added.
Besides a booming mining industry, Hataman said the setting up of petroleum businesses will spur growth in the region and these private investments will be complemented by infrastructure projects to bring closer links among the provinces in the region.
The ARMM expects another investment project to be registered before the year ends, “which proves that good governance leads to more investment opportunities that will bring more jobs for the people,” he said.
He said private investments are coming in as a result of the region’s development strategy and the improving peace situation. “Peace is at hand,” he said.
The growth in investments has come about despite the challenges faced by the region from conflicts, natural disaster and other extreme events.
The governor said officials have visited high-risk communities to educate them on disaster preparedness, and have been vigilant in controlling tropical diseases. They have also organized violence and injury-prevention programs.
Hataman said that his administration has addressed the concerns of all sectors from agrarian reform beneficiaries to education and scholarship opportunities, creating livelihoods, setting up cooperatives and providing better opportunities for women.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd himself lauded the present ARMM administration for supporting the “Daang Matuwid” by combating corruption and improving its services to the people.
This year, the ARMM made history when it passed the national government’s Good Governance Condition for integrity, transparency, and productivity, thanks to Hataman’s strategic development plans.
To celebrate its 26th anniversary on November 19 in Cotabato City, the ARMM will conduct activities that promote peace and harmony. The series of activities has been dubbed “Breaking Barriers Journey Through Bangsamoro Culture and History Towards Peace and Development.”
From November 6 to 8, the ARMM will honor the Sheikh Makhdum Mosque in Simunul, Tawi-Tawi, which is the cradle of Islam in the Philippines. The mosque was declared as a National Historical Landmark.
On November 11, the region will hold the Master Chieftain Competition, a culinary contest among tribal chieftains and chefs who will present their respective indigenous cuisines at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex.
On November 18, cultural street dancing will be held to showcase the region’s cultural diversity through ethnic dances along Gov. Gutierrez Avenue while the 10th People’s Day celebration will also offer free health services.
The Morolympics, highlighting Muslim sports, will be held at the ORG [Office of the Regional Governor] Compound in Cotabato City, while the “Handog Pasasalamat,” a thanksgiving concert, will be staged at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex.
Hataman has also calendared some activities aimed at raising people’s awareness on peace, as an individual and collective responsibility.
On November 19, the ARRM will celebrate its 26th anniversary as an independent region at the ORG Complex. Folk artists Coritha and Asin will be the guest artists.
Come November 29, there will be a Peace Parade and Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP) celebration. MWOP volunteers, peace advocates and various groups will support non-violent means to end conflict in Mindanao. Participants are batting for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as a legal option to peace in Mindanao.
On November 30, they will hold a “Bike for Peace,” enjoining cyclists to travel from Cotabato City to Datu Saudi-Ampatuan in Maguindanao.
From November 30 to December 4, the region will hold a weaving competition, highlighting the exotic weaving traditions of various tribes in the region.
These activities are aimed at showing the rest of the country that the ARMM’s efforts are geared toward positive change.
The ARMM administration recently hosted the Democratic Peace Institute during which an international group of experts looked into the deep-seated reasons for conflicts and offered peaceful exchanges to solve them.
Ultimately, these endeavors are focused on establishing true peace between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front through the passage of the BBL as a solution to conflict and underdevelopment in some parts of Muslim Mindanao.
The ARMM is the Philippines’ only chartered territory, which has a regional administration composed of executive and legislative branches.