COTABATO CITY—The economy of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao remains stable and will continue to flourish as investments pour in, the chairman of the Regional Board of Investments said Friday.
Investments in ARMM reached P3.65 billion in the first six months of 2017 despite the political climate and the siege of Marawi City that started on the third week of May, RBOI figures showed.
“Investment prospects provide the region’s resilience and the dynamism because the crisis is under the [control of the] government,” said lawyer Ishak Mastura, chairman and managing head of the RBOI.
The RBOI offers fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to ARMM investors. In 2015, the agency posted P6.5 billion in investments, the highest recorded in ARMM.
Business registrations in the first half of 2017 rose 74 percent compared to the same time last year, as the RBOI cited the effects of three major projects this year.
First was the P32-million fish storage and cold storage project of Abeng Seafoods and Cold Storage being built in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. These answers the needs of fishermen who need a sanitary place to preserve and process their daily catch, Mastura said.
Second, the P33.5-million cargo shipping project of J. Sayang Shipping Lines, Inc., also in Bongao, will provide inter-island trade and cross-border shipping to Sabah, Malaysia.
The RBOI also approved the P3-billion telecommunications carrier project of Tier One Communications International for ARMM. The firm initially planned to roll out its network in Marawi, but due to the terrorist-led siege, it had to review its business plan.
A Tier One representative explained that it will continue its infrastructure project in Marawi but it will be under the rehabilitation program of the government.
Under its revised plan, Tier One said it will launch its pilot program at the ARMM Compound in Cotabato City to serve the regional agencies. The firm will also be making other provisions and will infuse capital in the future, Mastura said.
Tier One provides 2G to LTE cellular technology and wireless broadband internet in homes and offices and Wi-Fi in public places.
Mastura is optimistic that more investments will be flowing in this year.
“Let’s hope that the banana plantation investments in Maguindanao will continue to pump up the registrations in RBOI. Then there are prospects for the P100-million port services project, some P200 million water treatment projects, and a P1-billion cacao plantation project. Let’s hope that they get registered this year,” he said.