ARMM Investments Infographic

DAVAO CITY, Philippines
– Investments in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao are in the upswing with the approval by the Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) of a P1.3 billion worth of palm oil plantation project in Maguindanao.

Gintong Agri-corporation a subsidiary of Agricola Holdings, a company that operates oil palm and rubber estates across Central America, West Africa and Southeast Asia has committed to initially develop 5,000 hectares of oil palm in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. The company aims to expand up to 20,000 hectares covering the municipalities of Talayan and Guindulungan in the next decade.

"ARMM's investment policy, along with the region's improving peace situation has hugely contributed to the entry of big ticket investments like the Gintong Agri Corporation. In fact, the company already has long-term plans for their plantation here, which will ensure sustainability of the investment," said Ishak Mastura, ARMM RBOI Chair.

Cooperative members from the ARMM are eyed to own and manage the lands, while the company will fund the development of the plantation as well as the technical training for the cooperative farmers. The entire project is estimated to generate 1,000 jobs for ARMM once the plantation operates into full swing.

Mastura said the Gintong Agri Corporation will also build and operate oil mill facilities in Maguindanao that will produce crude palm oil and palm kernel oil.

Last year, ARMM recorded another multi-billion worth of investment from Chiquita-Unifrutti, which poured in P3.7 billion for Cavendish banana plantations in Maguindanao. The investment project, along with a napier grass biofuel plantation, petroleum business, and a minerals development project significantly contributed to the remarkable growth of ARMM investment, amounting to a total of P6.5 billion by the end of 2015.

"This year is going to be another good year to generate more investments since projects related to an oil depot, bulk water treatment and supply on industrial waste management and treatment are now in the works," said Mastura.

ARMM hit its first billion-worth of investment in 2013, amounting to P1.4 billion. It more than doubled the following year when RBOI recorded P3.86 billion investments in 2014. Last year's record is up by almost 60 percent from 2014.

"This influx of investments indicates improved governance in the ARMM thereby increasing investor confidence, as demonstrated by the region's sustained investment growth under the Aquino administration," said MinDA Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino.

Antonino further noted that all the necessary infrastructure support are also in place for ARMM, primarily focusing on the gateways for the ARMM areas. Under the Mindanao Development Corridors Program being coordinated by MinDA, the revitalization and development of the Polloc port and Awang Airport are among the priority projects in the ARMM.

"Our long-term plan is to fully connect all regions in Mindanao through various public-private partnerships projects to spur massive development and inclusive growth across ARMM and entire Mindanao," Antonino said.
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