Critical reforms for peace building key to uplift Mindanao’s economy – biz leader

Fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will undergo a demobilization process as part of the peace agreement signed with government in March 2014. MindaNews file photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

TAGUM CITY (MindaNews/ 13 September) – The implementation of critical reforms for peace building in Mindanao have put the island on an emerging path, Maria Alegria Limjoco, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PCCCII) president said.

During the opening day of the three-day Mindanao Business Conference at the Big 8 Hotel Corporate Hotel in Tagum City on Thursday, Limjoco said the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARMM) will bring an end to the the decades-long armed conflict in the island.

“I am confident that Mindanao will continue to serve as a beacon of hope for economic transformation where job creation and poverty alleviation are the key outcomes,” she said.

She said the OLBARMM is an important step to attain “prosperous, inclusive, and resilient” a resilient future for Mindanao.

On July 27, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed the OLBARRM, previously referred to as the Bangsamoro Basic Law, one of the obligations of government under the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

After ratification in a plebiscite scheduled on January 21 next year, the proposed Bangsamoro region will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Citing the importance of Mindanao in the overall economic development of the Philippines, Limjoco urged businessmen to explore economic opportunities in the island to create more jobs for the people and alleviate poverty.

“I encourage you and the rest of the entrepreneurs with us today to remain committed to our steadfast role as agents of change and facilitators of inclusive business development to elicit transformative movement in our economy and lives of our fellow Filipinos,” she said.

She encouraged Mindanawon stakeholders to inspire the way to create more “dynamic, resilient and competitive hubs” in Mindanao that are driven by a new wave of governance, innovation, disaster resiliency, and economic prosperity with the region poised as a “bedrock of most important industrial and tourism hubs in the country.”

The business leader said Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act was a welcome development for the country as it ensures the Philippines is at par with regional and global competitiveness standards.

An amendment of the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, the law seeks to make the process of putting up and running a business in the Philippines easier and more efficient.

The law standardizes the processing time for transactions of business entities with government – three days for simple, seven days for complex, and 20 days for highly technical transactions.

She said the national economy is experiencing a rapid development with political and economic reforms that would later translate to overall inclusive growth and prosperity.

But Limjoco noted the country remains prone to serious vulnerabilities, including surges in inflation rate, reliance of exports on traditional markets, reliance on overseas remittances, underdeveloped infrastructure, weak agriculture-manufacturing value adding activities, and bias towards domestic consumption.

She said the PCCCII will continue to work on creating synergies among local government units, local chambers industry associations, joint foreign chambers, business councils, and small and medium enterprise members to maximize the business opportunities and support the competitive advantage of operating in basic but critical areas of business planning, financial inclusion, regulatory frameworks, training and skills development and international market access. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)