COTABATO CITY: The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has attracted Australian businesses wanting to invest in the region, a high ARMM official said on Wednesday adding that this is a vote of confidence despite the ongoing Marawi crisis.
The good prospect for Australian investments in ARMM came after its Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) joined in the recent Philippine Investment Mission and Roadshow to Australia led by the Board of Investments (BOI)–Manila under its Philippine Investment Promotion Plan (PIPP).
The PIPP serves as the BOI’s investment programming platform and is composed of all investment promotion agencies.
The agencies made a pitch to Australian investors in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane on the second week of August.
“The interest of Australian businessmen to invest in the ARMM is a clear vote of confidence in the stability of the region despite the ongoing Marawi crisis, which the security sector has effectively confined and contained in a small area,” said ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman as he congratulated RBOI-ARMM.
In his letter to lawyer Ishak Mastura, RBOI-ARMM chairman and managing head, Eduard Alcordo, president of the Australia Philippines Business Council, wrote of at least four prospective Australian investments in the ARMM: real estate, milk processing or dairy plant, renewable electricity generation and green coal and poultry or chicken processing for export.
Australia is one of the biggest official development assistance donors to the ARMM funding in particular the region’s basic education needs.
Recently, Australia also offered to train Philippine soldiers in urban warfare in view of the terrain of Marawi City, which used to be the ARMM’s largest city. Australia is the only other country aside from the United States, that has signed a Status of Forces Agreement with the Philippines.
The Australian government wants to help prevent Marawi City and its environs from becoming a safe haven for native transnational violent extremists returning to the region from the wars in Syria and Iraq.