AT LEAST 100 leaders from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) will convene in Manila on February 17 and 18 to discuss the economic direction of the Bangsamoro.

Event organizers said that the two separate events, namely, the Summit on Bangsamoro Economic Development and the International Conference on Islamic Economics and Finance, will focus on the region’s challenges and opportunities and the possible impact of the proposed shift to federalism under the Duterte administration.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Martin Pimentel III will grace both occasions.

According to Esmail Amanoding, one of the event’s organizers, the gatherings aim to address issues in relation to the business and financial viability in the Bangsamoro through the introduction and practice of Islamic economics and finance.

The events are convened by the Southeast Asian Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry headed by its president, Amanoding and former Quezon City Representative Dante Liban, the chamber’s national adviser.

In an interview, Amanoding said the summit and conference were organized mainly “to examine opportunities and challenges surrounding the Armm economy.”

He said the gatherings will bring together business executives, investors, economic development organizations, top-level officials from the local government units and National Government agencies, and senators, and congressional district representatives.

The twin events, Amanoding said, will become a venue for stakeholders, legislators, and industry players to “promote and discuss the ideals and accrued advantages of federalism and means to fast tract economic development in Bangsamoro under a federal set-up and maximize financial support from foreign [nations], especially Islamic countries.”

“The [events give] credence to a comprehensive, self-sustained dialogue on ‘Choosing Bangsamoro.’ It will also highlight speeches of subjects, lawmakers, and industry representatives as well as focused panel discussion on related topics such as economic snapshot of Bangsamoro region and asset mapping,” he said.

He added that topics on the federal role in state and local economic development programs, “halal” science and technology as basis for economic improvement in the region, and the pursuit of the ideal Bangsamoro region economy will also be presented at the discussions.

Also to be tackled are subjects on Islamic economics, knowledge economy and entrepreneurship development nexus, access to financial services and inclusive financial sector development, Islamic finance and sustainable development, and investing in human capital.

Co-organizing the events include the Armm represented by Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman, Mindanao State University, De La Salle University-Manila, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, Philippine Association of Islamic Accountants, Accounting Research Institute-Universiti Teknologi Mara, and International Council of Islamic Finance Educators.