San Miguel, ARMM ink infra development deal
SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC) has joined forces with the local government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the vision of developing the area through infrastructure investments.
SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang signed a memorandum of understanding with ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, under which the conglomerate pledged to invest in energy, ports and bulk water facilities.
Specifically, the conglomerate agreed to build a power plant to help provide long-term solutions to Mindanao’s power crisis, SMC said in a statement.
It has committed to build over the next two years the power plant that will serve the ARMM region, with an estimated 573,446 households.
Ang said ARMM represented one of the most under-penetrated markets in the Philippines. He said it was “ripe” for investment and offered huge growth potential as a region.
Estimates indicate that more than one million households in Mindanao remain without electricity. Those that do have access to power supply do not always enjoy stable electricity services. Brownouts, particularly during the summer months, are prevalent.
The investment in ARMM, he said, was in line with SMC’s strategy to locate facilities and production centers outside urban centers. Those investments, he said, would create strong “second-tier cities.”
Instability, lack of infrastructure and lack of a stable power supply have made investors wary. Ang said he was hoping San Miguel’s vote of confidence in the conflict-torn province would create jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs, provide a major economic boost to ARMM and ease worries over perceived investment risks.
“Over the next few years, we’re going to see what can be achieved when the private and the public sector work together with the best interests of the local communities at heart,” Hataman said.
ARMM is composed of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
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