Mindanao to benefit from OLBARMM, federalism – Chinese envoy

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 Sep) – People’s Republic of China Consul General in Davao City Li Lin said Mindanao is facing a rare opportunity for growth with the signing of the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARMM) and the proposed federal form of government being pushed by the Duterte administration.

Chinese Consulate General Li Lin at the MinBizCon in Tagum City. Photo courtesy of Mindanao Development Authority

Speaking during the Mindanao Business Conference 2018 at the Big 8 Corporate Hotel in Tagum City on Thursday, Lin said the OLBARMM will be an important element to provide a safer and more secured environment for Chinese investors while federalism would allow local governments craft flexible policies to attract new businesses.

“Safety and security is very important element for a place to develop healthily. The Chinese people, in the last 40 years of reform and opening, have the deepest experience that stability is of vital importance for economic progress,” he added.

Lin assumed his post last April 2018 to lead the new Chinese Consulate Office here. Relationship of the Philippines with China warmed up after President Rodrigo R. Duterte won the 2016 presidential election.

“I think the good relationship especially between two countries is not only dependent on political trust and people-to-people amity but also on concrete economic cooperation,” he said.

Lin said he was delighted Duterte signed last July 27 the OLBARMM, which would restore peace, security, and stability that would eventually convince foreign investors to come to areas of Mindanao that are suffering from armed conflicts.

He also vowed to help promote various business opportunities in various parts of Mindanao and the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) to Chinese investors.

Mindanao and Palawan are among the BIMP-EAGA focus areas, along with the entire sultanate of Brunei Darussalam; provinces of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, West Papua and Papua in Indonesia; states of Sabah and Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan in Malaysia; and Mindanao and the province of Palawan in the Philippines.

The Chinese diplomat said the proposed shift to federal charter would be Mindanao’s another advantage because local governments will not only have a fair share of the country’s wealth but also allow them to craft more flexible policies to attract foreign investments.

“Maybe, it will be a good news for overseas investors to come because local governments may compete with each other to offer more preferential policies to attract foreign capital, foreign investors like what the Chinese government at local level had been doing in the past 40 years. We compete with each other in offering tax holidays to new companies to establish in China,” he said.

Lin said he wants investors to come not only to Metro Manila but also to as far as Tawi-Tawi province in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

As part of the BIMP-EAGA focus area, Lin said he will work on enhancing the cooperation between Mindanao and China because this sub regional cooperation is still new and barely heard in the Chinese business community.

He said that China is a huge market that the Philippines can seize; economy between China and Philippines is complementary; and both countries have a shared history and ties. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)