FAB helps attract more businesses in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 1 February)—The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has helped attract more investments in Mindanao, especially within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), officials said Friday.

Gathering for the Mindanao Development Forum here Friday, officials also appeared bullish over the prospects of the area especially once the comprehensive peace pact will be forged.

The FAB, which was signed on October 15, 2012, paved the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro that would replace the ARMM by 2016.

“We have a positive outlook,” Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority, said in a press conference.

“That is why we are selling Mindanao to prospective investors,” she noted, adding that “all sectors in Mindanao are helping and working together to move the economy of the island forward.”

In November last year, Antonino said that Malaysian investors committed to pour investments worth at least P25 billion to Mindanao in the next few years.

There are many business prospects in Mindanao, she continued, citing that Indian businessmen have also expressed an interest to engage in coco coir production in the area.

Recently, Antonino also said that 15 businessmen belonging to the Putrajaya Chamber of Commerce visited Mindanao for investment prospects.

Acting ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said in an interview after the FAB signing that ARMM has become “investment-friendly”.

He cited that Del Monte Philippines, Inc. has put up investments in Maguindanao and that Unifrutti, a multinational company, also plans to expand its banana plantation in the province.

Also at the press conference, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that “the potentials of Mindanao are huge.”

He said the government is hopeful that with the FAB, the political hindrance will be addressed, apparently referring to the rebellion waged by the MILF. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)