Armm marks P1.451 billion investments

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Friday, February 14, 2014


ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Regional Board of Investments of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-Armm) has approved for registration in its meeting held in this city a record of P1.451 billion worth of investments in the Armm for the 1st quarter of this year.

This is a record for the Armm since it is almost the same as the total amount of investments registered with RBOI in 2013, which stood at P1.463 billion by the end of year, RBOI chairman and managing head Ishak Mastura said in a statement Friday.

Moreover, Mastura said this is the first time that investments in Armm have reached more than P1 billion year on year, which may even reach P2 billion this year.

Mastura said the strong surge in investments in Armm comes in the wake of the signing in Kuala Lumpur last month of the “Annex on Normalization” considered as the last annex to the “Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro” between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Mastura said the new investments are mostly coming from local investors, who are registering with the RBOI because of their increased confidence in the improving peace and order situation in the area, brought about by the success of the peace negotiations.

“We are actually getting more inquiries about how to invest in the Armm than is usual from foreign companies,” Mastura added.

He said there is also the contributing factor of governance reforms in Armm and the “hands-on” investment promotion conducted by Governor Mujiv Hataman convincing local investors that the autonomous region is serious about wooing and securing investors to expand their operations or to set-up new enterprises in the region.

However, on a cautionary note, registration with the RBOI may be a way for investors to hedge in case of uncertainty in investment policies in the region as the new Bangsamoro political entity is set-up possibly in 2015 since registration with the RBOI locks in place favorable policies towards investors that are already in the Armm and that provides investors a predictable and familiar policy environment.

In its meeting in this city, the RBOI registered three firms namely, Lamsan Power Corporation, SR Languyan Mining Corporation and ABSCOR Multi-Trading Company.

Lamsan Power Corporation based in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao registered a pioneer biomass renewable energy project costing P921.56 million.

The power plant will utilize rice hull, corn husks, cobs and other agricultural wastage from its own cornstarch plant with a capacity of 15 megawatts (MW).

It is expected that this will reduce the commercial power consumption of its cornstarch operations.

This will also augment power reserves of the National Power Corporation and the Mindanao Grid since Lamsan Power will be selling 11.5 MW to these power companies.

Hataman said that this power project is good news since this will help ease power shortages being experienced by some areas in Mindanao.

“The power plant is a very important support facility that would encourage more businesses to flourish in the region,” Hataman added.

The SR Languyan Mining Corporation has invested P520 million for a nickel ore mining project with a capacity of one million metric tons (MT) per year in Barangay Darussalam, Languyan, Tawi-Tawi.

The ABSCOR Multi-Trading Company based in Port Holland, Maluso, Basilan province has put-in P10 million for an import and export trading business.

The company transacts its business undertakings in the geographic areas of the countries of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines that are under the East Asean Growth Area, more commonly known as the BIMP-EAGA.

The two firms from the Sulu archipelago -- Tawi-Tawi and Basilan -- implies that despite the “Zamboanga siege” in September 2013 and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) disgruntlement with the peace deal with its rival MILF, investors remain resilient and some are even optimistic on business prospects in the area.

In all, Mastura said that about 1,122 local folks will be employed by these three firms -- Lamsan Power Corporation, SR Languyan Mining Corporation and ABSCOR Multi-Trading Company.

Meanwhile, Armm Business Council Chairman Haron Bandila expressed worries regarding the current status of the Cotabato (Awang) Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

“Before we have four flights daily, but now we only have limited flights from Friday to Monday even if there are no repairs being done to the airport since December 2013. This has caused a big constraint on the investment environment in the region and Cotabato City,” Bandila said.

Cotabato City is the provisional administrative capital of the ARMM where its line agencies hold offices. (PNA)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 15, 2014.

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