Maguindanao, ARMM business potentials shown to Asian traders PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 October 2014 13:53

The October 23 to 26 conference in Davao City of business leaders from five Asian nations gave Maguindanao province a chance to highlight its investment potentials and the recent improvements in the area’s security landscape, officials said Monday.

Maguindanao is in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which also covers the scattered provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi.

The 2nd Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Business Leaders’ Conference last week in Davao City was attended by traders from member-states of the economic cooperation polygon. Members of the business sector in Thailand also joined in the conference.

In separate statements this week, Makmod Mending, Jr., ARMM’s agriculture secretary, and Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu both said the activity provided the autonomous region a venue where to disseminate the viability now of investing in its provinces, particularly Maguindanao.

The Maguindanao provincial government displayed “inaul” loom woven cloth, export grade Cavendish bananas, oil palm nuts, nutritious unrefined cane sugar, coffee beans, home decors and bags made of dried water hyacinth stalks at the venue of the conference.

“It was a good chance for us to show that the 36 towns in Maguindanao are now conducive for business projects and that we now have tranquility as a result of the Mindanao peace process,” Mangudadatu said.

Mending said they also exhibited black organic rice, processed coffee, turmeric derivatives, processed organic bangus (milkfish) and red tilapias from other provinces of the autonomous region. Maguindanao is a bastion of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, but there has not been a single military-MILF encounter in the province since 2010.

The government and the MILF forged on March 27, 2014 a final peace compact - the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.

Mending said the influx of foreign capitalists now putting up oil palm and Cavendish banana farms in Maguindanao is enough proof that the ARMM’s investment climate improved dramatically in the past two years.

The ARMM’s five provinces and two cities generated almost P3 billion worth of investments during the period, according to latest documents obtained from the Regional Board of Investments.

The investment mark up from 2012 to August 2014 was almost a hundred percent higher than what the ARMM generated from 2000 to 2011.

Three private firms spent almost P1 billion for renewable energy facilities in Maguindanao in recent months.

In a video documentary, Maguindanao’s provincial government mentioned of fertile lands and the abundance of rivers that can irrigate farms as among the advantages investors can enjoy if they put up agricultural projects in the province.

The business conference also involved representatives from the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand (IMT) Growth Triangle, also a transnational economic partnership.

The BIMP-EAGA was established in 1994 through the efforts of then President Fidel Ramos, one of the special guests to the event, held at a local venue.

Ramos told reporters the economic cooperation among the BIMP-EAGA member-states is a good model of international trading partnership.

He said the BIMP-EAGA can be a strong trading partner by any country, or international business organizations in any part of the world.

“It is now a great challenge for all (BIMP-EAGA) member countries to improve the business opportunities and industries they can offer to their trading partners,” Ramos said.

The latest BIMP-EAGA event was in preparation for next year’s adoption of the “Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Integration,” which aims to establish stronger economic connectivity among ASEAN member-countries.

The integration program shall be centered on easy import-export flow, improvement of services and skilled labor and to encourage cross-border investments.