ARMM approves P32-M cold storage and fish processing in Tawi-Tawi

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 March) — The Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) approved Monday the application for registration of a P32-million cold storage and fish processing facility in Tawi-tawi.

In a press release, the ARMM-RBOI said the Tawi-tawi based Abing Seafoods and Cold Storage (ASCS) will engage in processing marine products, including packing and cold storage operation. for fresh, ice-chilled and frozen fishery products.

It described ASCS as a firm engaged in “responsible and rational buy and sale of various commercially important fishery resources in Tawi-Tawi for local and international markets.”

“Around 111 jobs” will be generated by the investment, including jobs for out-of–school youth and unemployed mothers, the ARMM-RBOI said.

It noted that marginalized fisherfolk like the Badjaos will be tapped as the firm’s suppliers to meet the demands for scallops and abalone, sea cucumber and sea urchin, crabs and lobsters, and fish like grouper, snapper and tuna.

ASCS will export its products to China, Singapore and Hong Kong, the ARMM-RBOI said.

Lawyer Ishak Mastura, ARMM-RBOI chair, said the approval of the project is a strategic initiative of the ARMM government to strengthen the growth of the fishery industry  in Tawi-Tawi “and most importantly, to help small-scale fishermen sell their catch at a reasonable price.”

“This is also a good way to promote ‘sustainable fished’ marine resources and support to local fisherfolk for conserving the marine environment, Mastura said.

Around 95% of the 391,000  population of Tawi-Tawi live in coastal areas, and about 15% of these are municipal fishers.

“In Tawi-Tawi, marine fishing is not just an industry but is a way of life. It has been a part of their culture that has been passed from generation to generation,” Mastura added.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said the project can further help address poverty incidence in Tawi-Tawi.  The island province has the lowest poverty incidence in the five-province region, at 10.2% as of 2015.  The region’s average poverty incidence is 48.2%.

“By incentivizing fishery related investment projects, we will be able to encourage businessmen and fishing communities to maximize the utilization of our fishery resources in a sustainable manner,” ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said. (MindaNews)