MINDANAO economy has started to pick up amid the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), President Benigno Aquino III said Thursday.
Aquino, in a speech at the Philippine Development Forum on Bangsamoro in Davao City, said that Mindanao is "on the cusp of a profound transformation: from being a Land of Promise to being a Land of Promises Fulfilled."
He cited the signing of a peace agreement between his administration and the MILF in March this year.
"The early impact of our efforts at peace, stability, and fostering a good business climate, has been near instant," Aquino said.
He cited that for the first nine months of 2014, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) registered a yearly all-time high of P3.37 billion in investments.
"This is more than double the P1.46 billion in investments recorded in 2013, and almost six times the P569 million in investments Armm received in 2012," he said.
The President also noted Armm's gross domestic product, which has likewise been on an upswing, from a contraction of 0.3 percent in 2011, to a growth of 1.2 percent in 2012, and 3.6 percent in 2013.
"I am told that the growth of 5.6 (percent) this year is very attainable," he added.
He also said that there has been a sea change in terms of business interest in Mindanao.
In the same speech, the President cited the submission of the final draft of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress.
"At this point, I believe all of us are duty-bound to make our voices heard. Please talk to your representatives so that we can pass a bill that truly represents the interests of all, and benefits all of the people," he said.
Aquino also enumerated some of the major institutional reforms in Mindanao, including the synchronization of the elections in Armm with the national elections.
"It laid the foundations for change by forcing those running for office to contend with one another on a level playing field," he said.
"In effect, it puts an end to the abuse of elections by national and local leaders alike, and to the mindset that Armm communities were mere vote banks that one could sell to the highest bidder during national elections," he added. (SDR/Sunnex)