ARMM investments reach P1.4B, up by 157% in 2013
MANILA, Philippines – The continuing peace talks between the government and a group of Moro insurgents has appeared to convince investors to place their stakes in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) despite the the spate of violence that occurred in the south last year.
In 2013, investments in ARMM increased by 157% to P1.4 billion, the Regional Board of Investments of ARMM said Tuesday, January 14.
This is only the second time that the region breached the P1 billion mark since its creation in 1989.
"We attribute this significant increase in investments to the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),” said Ishak Mastura, chairman of RBOI-ARMM.
Since the signing of the FAB in October 2012, Mindanao has suffered from two major crises – the Sabah standoff in February 2013 and the Zamboanga siege in September 2013. Both incidents, although related to the peace talks, however, occurred in areas outside the ARMM's jurisdiction.
The current peace deal being completed by the government and the MILF seeks to establish a ministerial form of government to be called the Bangsamoro, replacing the current ARMM.
The biggest contributor to the increase in ARMM investments was mineral development.
In Tawi-Tawi, the Al-Tawitawi Nickel Corporation invested more than P700 million for a mineral development project in the province.
In Maguindanao, the Bumbaran Development Corporation invested P365 million for a real estate project.
Other major investments include the expansion of a banana plantation and the establishment of an oil depot, RBOI-ARMM said.
The investments created a total of 1,743 jobs for ARMM.
How to split proceeds from mineral wealth was a crucial factor in the wealth-sharing arrangements signed by the government and the MILF in July 2013. The deal gave the envisioned Bangsamoro government 75% of profits from taxes and charges, as well as revenues from metallic minerals, with the remaining going to the central government. (READ: Inside story: The deal-breaker in GPH-MILF talks)
In December, the peace panels signed a deal on how power will be shared between the central government and the proposed Bangsamoro government. (READ: Gov't, MILF agree on power-sharing)
To aid in the planned transition towards the Bangsamoro, RBOI said ARMM received P8.59 billion under the Transition Investment Support Plan (TISP) of the national government. Of the amount, P2.8 billion was allocated for DPWH’s infrastructure projects.
The government and the MILF hope to sign a final peace deal by January. – Angela Casauay/Rappler.com