GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 02 January) – Investments in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) plunged by at least half to P1.3 billion in 2022 from P2.8 billion the previous year, data from the Bangsamoro Board of Investments (BBOI) showed.
Mohammad Pasigan, BBOI chair, pointed out the investments registered last year also fell short by 36 percent from the P2 billion target for 2022.
Year-on-year, investments in the Bangsamoro region were down by almost 54 percent, with Pasigan attributing the decline “to different restrictions that were beyond our control.”
These restrictions included the requirements set by various BARMM ministries, time constraints and lack of manpower in the BBOI, he said.
“We need more personnel for investments and a more efficient structure conducive to facilitating investments in the BARMM,” Pasigan said in a statement.
For 2022, the investments registered with the BBOI included the Pagana Kutawato Corporation (P100 million), Hanabana Construction and Equipment Corporation (P96 million), Usman Banana Farm (P278 million), Nama Concrete Philippines Corp. (P341 million), Mt. Kalatungan Agri-Ventures, Inc. (P223 million), Austrian Trade and Investments Group, Inc. (P170 million) and Kaltimex Rural Energy Corporation (P76 million).
These investments generated at least 1,052 jobs, the BBOI said.
Over the past years, agriculture has become the major investment haven in the Bangsamoro region due to its ideal agro-climactic conditions and fertile lands, Pasigan said.
However, for 2022, other investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and energy pushed through as investors realized their viability in the Bangsamoro region, he added.
Pasigan said his office had exerted more efforts in promoting investments by conducting BARMM-wide Strategic Investment Priorities Plan consultations and even went out of its way to attract investors through business coaching and investment facilitation.
According to him, the BARMM “should not take the plunge in investment as something negative.”
“We should see this as a challenge,” Pasigan said.
He encouraged domestic and foreign investors to put up business in the BARMM, citing the more stable peace and order situation in the region headed by Interim Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim.
The BARMM covers the provinces of Maguindanao del Norte, Maguindanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Marawi, Lamitan and Cotabato, and 63 villages from six towns in North Cotabato known as the Bangsamoro Special Geographic Area.
The creation of the Bangsamoro region is the key component of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front forged in 2014 after 17 years of peace negotiations.
The BARMM was created in January 2019 following a plebiscite that ratified Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the BARMM. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)