ARMM stability brings Php600-M more investments in Q4 – officials

COTABATO CITY, Oct. 29 (PNA) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) continues to receive investments as the Regional Board of Investments (RBOI-ARMM) approved Thursday a total project investment value of Php600 million, raising this year’s investment to about Php6 billion, officials said.

Lawyer Ishak Mastura, RBOI-ARMM chairperson, said these newly registered RBOI firms are the Maguindanao Energy Farms Incorporated (MEFI) based in Barangay Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and Matling Industrial and Commercial Corporation (MICC) operating in Barangay Matling, Malabang, Lanao del Sur.

He said the two firms are eligible for fiscal and non-fiscal incentives being provided by the regional government.

ARMM Regional Governor, Mujiv Hataman said that from January to October 2015, about Php6 billion total worth of projects are invested in the region, the biggest in the history of ARMM.

“Investments will continue to come in the region as long as there is sustained peace and stability,” Hataman said.

Mastura said the Maguindanao Energy Farms Inc. invested Php400 million for a 474 hectare-napier grass plantation. The napier grass plantation with production capacity of 256,133 metric tons per annum will be used to supply the fuel needs of Lamsan Power Plant, also located in Simuay Sultan Kudarat.

Napier is highly valued industrial crop, a good source of biomass energy which will naturally regenerate or renew itself after a reasonable length of time. The project will create 60 jobs.

Mastura said the entry of Maguindanao Energy Farms to the list of existing renewable energy projects registered with RBOI signifies a growing number of investors investing in alternative sources of energy such as biomass.

“Such projects are included in the 2014-2016 ARMM Investments Priorities Plan to promote and support economic activities that will bring about sustainable and clean sources of energy and to secure power supply for the future,” Mastura said.

”About 23 percent of total investments from 2012 to present in ARMM are into renewable energy,” he added.

Likewise, Matling Industrial and Commercial Corporation (MICC) had invested a Php194 million expansion and modernization project by setting up a new cassava starch milling plant.

The new plant is expected to yield approximately 13,216 metric tons or 260,000 metric tons of cassava starch annually.

MICC, one of the pioneering and most enduring cassava starch companies in the country, was established in September 1928, and up until now is still operating.

According to MICC, around 70 percent of the present cassava starch supply in the domestic market is imported due to increasing demand while decreasing in local supply which can be attributed to the closure and non-operations of local mill plants.

Hence, the company has to fill in the supply and demand gap of the industry through expansion and modernization. The said expansion project is expected to directly employ 176 workers. (PNA)