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Investors unfazed by Mindanao conflict

/ 04:03 AM March 15, 2015

POLLOC PORT, Maguindanao—The ongoing military offensive in Maguindanao and the recent violence in Sulu and other areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have not scared investors away, government officials and company executives said in a meeting here Friday.

Lawyer Mimbalawag Mangutara Jr., ARMM’s regional port manager, said in this province, for example, where soldiers had been running after Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) members, a new lease agreement had been entered into with companies, who shelled more capital for their long-term business ventures.

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Saying “life must go on” despite the conflict, Mangutara and Rob Scott, corporate executive officer of Iron Blaze Petroleum Inc., laid the cornerstone Friday morning for the construction of a 7-million-liter capacity oil depot at the southwestern section of this port.

The 15-year lease agreement for the depot forms part of the firm’s $10 million investment program on oil trade.

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Lawyer Ishak Mastura, chair of the Regional Board of Investments (RBOI), said the signing of the new lease agreement with Iron Blaze was proof investors have not backed out of their established ventures in the region, amid the violence that has been affecting some ARMM provinces.

He said in fact, the ARMM has exceeded its 2015 target on investments because for the first quarter of the year alone, aggregate investments have already reached P863 million.

The fresh capital infusions included the P741.8-million nickel-ore mining project of Chan C. Mining Inc. in Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi, and the P121.25-million petroleum depot project of Tawi-Tawian Petroleum Trading Corp., also in Panglima Sugala, Mastura said.

RBOI Director Monir Dumama said Lam San Co., under Danny Lu, has bought the local stevedoring firm, which used to be owned by the PTC (Peptalk Investment and Development Corp., Tident Development Corp., and Central Mindanao Investment Corp.).

Dumama named other investor groups as Bangsamoro Oil and Fuels Corp. of Dr. Amor Pendaliday, Fast Cargo Logistic Corp., the Power-Ups Ventures and the Asean Business System Company Organizing Resources Corp.

Pete Marquez, an official of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Central Mindanao, said the current business climate “redeems for the region its true state of economic investment,” as opposed to talks of war and the supposed failure of the peace process.

In Northern Mindanao, the investment mood has not also been dampened by the violence that has been affecting the ARMM which was being magnified as a Mindanao situation.

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“Opportunities abound for growth and investments in fields such as agriculture, food processing, service-related industries and trade infrastructure services,” Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo told industry leaders of Northern Mindanao during a meeting in Cagayan de Oro last week.

Multinational firm Del Monte Philippines Inc. for example, said it was set to expand its operation and production. Nash Maulana and Bobby Lagsa, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: armm, ARMM’s regional port manager, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, BIFF members, Ceferino Rodolfo, Maguindanao, Mimbalawag Mangutara Jr., Rob Scott
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