Investing in Mindanao, Philippines
“The key to good investment in Mindanao is the signing of the final peace agreement” between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Datu Haron Bandila, a business leader in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said in response to the third State-of-the-Nation Address of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
Bandila, chair of the ARMM Business Council, said the President’s SONA was “well understood by the people.”
“We appreciate the SONA of the President,” he said.
But he noted that in attracting investments to Mindanao, a key factor would be the signing of the GPH-MILF final peace agreement.
“It is the only way for us to fully convince investors to put in their capital to the (autonomous) region and the rest of Mindanao,” he said.
Vicente Lao, Mindanao Business Council chair, had earlier said that the unstable peace and security situation in Mindanao, especially in the conflict-affected areas, is a national issue that “imperils the productivity and competitiveness of business firms in the Philippines.”
“Generally speaking, this condition hampers the escalation of trade and commerce. Conflict does not only increase the cost of doing business, it also affects revenues as it decreases the purchasing power of the consumers,” he said.
In last year’s SONA, the President did cite any development regarding the Mindanao peace process.
But a week later, he met with MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Japan where both agreed to fast-track the peace process.
Bandila welcomed Aquino’s pronouncement on the peace process between the government and the Moro rebels, noting “it’s one of the agenda” discussed in the President’s almost 90-minute speech.
In an apparent bid to attract investments and tourism in the different parts of the island, Aquino vowed that the Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental would be operational before his term ends in 2016.
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