GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/04 November) — A group of Mindanao-based businessmen will convene in Makati City on Thursday (Nov. 5) with top business executives from various parts of the country to discuss possible partnerships that would further enhance trade and investment initiatives and the continuing peace efforts in the island.
Vicente Lao, chair of the Mindanao Business Council (MinBC), said at least 150 members of the Manila-based Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) are expected to attend the gathering, dubbed the Mindanao Peace and Investment Forum.
The forum, which will be joined by officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Business Council and the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), is slated Thursday at the Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City.
Lao said the gathering, which is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through The Asia Foundation (TAF), mainly aims to “establish strategic areas of partnership, collaboration and alliance between the Mindanao-based organizations and the members of MAP.”
He said they are looking at the activity as a venue to encourage the country’s business sector to do its share in achieving peace in Mindanao.
“Business investments do not follow geographic boundaries but rather respect all colors of race and beliefs and collaborate in a socially-responsible and culturally-sensitive way with all stakeholders,” he said in a press statement.
During the forum, Lao said, ARMM Business Council chair Datu Haron Bandila will present the general investment climate in the ARMM Region and the role the council plays in achieving peace in the region through investment promotion and facilitation.
He said considered among the highlights of the gathering will be a presentation of BDA Executive Director Dr. Danda Juanday on a local economic initiative called PLEDGE or the Program for Local Economic Development through Enlightened Governance and Grassroots Empowerment.
Lao said the MinBC, MAP and the ARMM Business Council are also slated to sign a memorandum of cooperation to sustain the partnership among the three organizations in “intensifying the promotion of ARMM and Southwestern Mindanao as a viable investment destination.”
A forum briefer cited that the gathering is an offshoot of the GRP-LGU-Business Sector Dialogue held in Davao City late last year that resulted to the crafting of the Mindanao Business Declaration for Peace and Development.
The declaration mainly seeks to enjoin the commitment of both public and private investments in the peace-building process in Mindanao. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)