ARMM registers P471-M investment in Tawi-Tawi energy project

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News -

TAWI-TAWI - The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) continues to attract investments, as Southsea Industrial Energy Corp. registered its P471-million worth of mini-oil refinery.

The project, which includes storage depots in Tubig-Indangan, and Simunul in Tawi-Tawi, was approved during the last joint board and management committee meeting of the ARMM’s Regional Board of Investment (RBOI) on December 2.

Southsea, a 100% Filipino-owned company, will put up the first of its kind mini oil-refinery in the country using new technology from South Korea with the assistance of a South Korean technical partner.

RBOI provisionally approved the project pending the release of an endorsement of the project by the Department of Energy, which is expected to be issued by the end of the month. The commercial operation of the mini oil-refinery would start in the last quarter of 2017 and would generate at least 100 jobs.

ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv S. Hataman reiterated that with the registration of Southsea, private sector investments in the ARMM reached a total of P6.5 billion this year. This figure is the highest recorded in the 26-year history of the region.

Lawyer Ishak Mastura, RBOI-ARMM chairman, said despite the uncertainty of the passage of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law in the Senate and the House of Representatives, investments in the region have been going up.

“There were fears raised (related to the proposed Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, or BLBAR,) by investors in the ARMM, expressed through the Promotion of Investment Sustainability Organization (PISO),” said Atty. Mastura. He added that some investors think the revied draft basic law for the Bangsamoro could make the region less autonomous.

Edgar Bullecer, PISO lead convener and part of the growing banana export industry in the ARMM, said if BLBAR is passed, investors will be discouraged as investment rules will be changed, and will revert back to the central government.

Currently, investors in the ARMM enjoy ease of doing business like issuance of permits and approvals of projects, among others, under the ARMM Organic Act.

The BLBAR version, specifically the draft from the House of Representatives, will also take away ‘vested rights’ already being enjoyed by investors in the ARMM, such as fiscal and nonfiscal incentives issued by the RBOI.

This year, the RBOI has recorded an increase of roughly 68% in the total value of investments, or P6.5 billion this year compared with last year’s P3.87 billion. Moreover, a total of 4,894 jobs, which is about 43% higher compared with last year’s 3,433 jobs, have been recorded this year.

This means that even with the delay in the passage of a Bangamoro law faithful to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace process will continue to bring stability to the region since both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are committed to the full implementation of the CAB, Gov. Hataman added.

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