ARMM road, infra projects start reaping investments PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 September 2015 14:14

By ED GENERAL

With a boom on road constructions in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the dividends of development by way of billions of pesos are beginning to pour into the southern provinces.

The latest bit of international largesse comes from John Paul C. Perrine, company president of Unifrutti Group of Companies, who proposed a 4,000-hectare land in Basilan banana plantation.

Mr Perrine recently visited the office of ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman in Cotabato City and was able to hold a forum with key officials.

Perrine said the company anchored its trust on ARMM as an investment area after a successful banana farming venture in Datu Paglas.

Datu Paglas, the town of the late mayor Ebrahim Paglas, became a model for development when the Paglas family partnered with a multinational firm  to develop about 1,000 hectares for a banana farm.

Paglas had said that among farm workers in the plantation are rebels who laid down their firearms and started working in the fields.

DPWH-ARMM Secretary Don Mustapha Loong, who is in charge of the public works activities in the area said that Perrine found it easy to invest in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao because it has an enlightened leadership under Governor Mujiv Hataman.

Perhaps this is one reason why the company did not wait for the eventual setting up of the Bangsamoro entity that will replace the autonomous region based on the agreement that the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed early this year.

Sec. Loong said that rural infrastructure might be the costliest of investments, yet they are the most fundamental without which agricultural production has no foundation to grow.

Basilan District Engineer Soler Undug said the circumferential road in the province had been completed and they are now continuing work on the trans central road connecting to the circumferential road on three points.

The forum is part of the economic growth and linkages cluster activity of the Hataman administration headed by Chairman Atty Ishak Mastura of the Regional Board of Investments.

Sec. Loong, RPDO Dir Bai Intan and ARMM Chief of Staff Ras Mitmug were also present together with other members of the ARMM Cabinet including JICA Cotabato Head Naoyuki Ochiai.

Mr Perrine had partnered with World Bank and the Mindanao Rural Development Program of the Department of Agriculture.

Camp Abubakar Siddique, the former main base of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the first district of Maguindanao, is also being eyed as site for a multi-million-peso banana plantation to be funded by the World Bank (WB) through the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).

“Camp Iranon,” the current name given to the former MILF base, covers several thousands of hectares straddling the Iranon towns of Buldon, Barira, and Matanog in Maguindanao, and partly of Butig in Lanao del Sur.

Maguindanao Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu said some 3,000 hectares of the camp are now being prepared for planting of Cavendish banana under the agriculture component of the PRDP’s Mindanao-focused segment bankrolled by the World Bank.