MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/20 August) — The Bukidnon Provincial Government has reorganized the Bukidnon Investment and Export Promotion Board created in 1995, Manny James Cudal, chair of the Bukidnon Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council, said.
Cudal said Bukidnon Gov. Alex Calingasan ordered the formation of the board and the creation of the Bukidnon Investment and Export Promotion Office (BIEPO) under his office to pursue the rules and regulations pushed by the Bukidnon and Incentives Code.
The Code, passed 16 years ago as Provincial Ordinance 95-03, was meant to pursue “environmentally acceptable, sustainable and equitable growth by encouraging investments that provide employment opportunities, raise the standard of living of the people of Bukidnon and provide an equitable distribution of wealth.”
In an executive order signed in June, Calingasan reorganized the board to be composed of private-public stakeholders.
The board was revived also with an executive order in the administration of then Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. but did not take off.
Cudal, who was appointed by Calingasan as his vice-chair, told MindaNews the revival has long been overdue and is exactly what the province needs to attract more investors.
He said the move was welcomed by the business community. Aside from Cudal, another local business leader, Engr. Tony Decano of the Malaybalay Business Club, attended the board’s organizational meeting Wednesday afternoon at the Provincial Planning and Development Office.
He said the board will help facilitate business registration processes by establishing a one-stop shop scheme. Cudal said there is a need to review the rules and incentives pushed in the investment code.
Roderico Bioco, president of the Mindanao Grains Processing Inc., who was appointed as representative of the agriculture sector, said reviving the board is a catch up move.
“It would be good to revive as other provinces also have programs two attract investors aggressively,” he said.
Aside from overseeing the compliance of investors to the rules of availing the investment incentives, Calingasan also tasked the board to undertake proactive investment generation and export promotion efforts, provide accurate and reliable investment data, help in the annual review of the Bukidnon Investment Priorities, initiate parallel ordinances for enactment in the 20 towns and two cities in the province.
The code provides as a policy of the province the pursuit of an “environmentally acceptable, sustainable, and equitable growth by encouraging both domestic and foreign investments, primarily in agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, services, non-metallic mineral mining, trade and tourism-related activities.”
The code also provided for the creation of the Bukidnon Investment Grid and a list of “preferred areas of investment,” which includes agriculture and forest based manufacturing, forestry-based industries, service-related industries, support-services, and mineral-based industries.”
The industries listed under “mineral-based industries” include white clay processing, kitchen and earthen wares, semi-conductor, industrial lime production, construction/bricks and tiles manufacturing, and stone craft.
The Code also provides for the rights and obligations of the government and the investors, a procedure on the registration of enterprise, including requirements, and tax incentives. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)