The Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) together with Hineleban Foundation (HFI) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) led the Forum on Investment Promotion for the Bangsamoro held on March 13, 2018 at Garden Orchid Hotel, Zamboanga City. The forum was conducted to promote the Business Sustainability Framework for the Bangsamoro (BSFB) developed through the Brokering Business Investments in the Bangsamoro to Achieve Inclusive Development and Growth (BRIDGe) Project. The BRIDGe Project aims to boost investments in the ARMM.
The forum participated by local government units (LGU) and business groups from the island provinces of Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu focused on the roles of the LGUs and the business sector in creating synergy in the facilitation and growth of investments in the ARMM through the BRIDGe Project.
The BRIDGe project is being implemented by PBSP, HFI and RBOI specifically to strengthen the capacity of RBOI in facilitating investments in the region, capacitate local communities to engage in business development, and promote ARMM investment opportunities among local and foreign investors. The project is funded by the Australian Aid, Australian Government-Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
RBOI chairman and managing head, lawyer Ishak Mastura said that the BSFB outlines recommendations to potential investors on how to initiate new business in the Bangsamoro region. “The BSFB contains the documentation of business models in the ARMM stating the experiences and best practices of companies who were able to make sustainable and responsible agri-business investments successful in the Bangsamoro”, Mastura added.
According to Dr.Urooj Malik, chairman of HFI, the BSFB emphasizes on community engagements as part of the investors’ business plans. Dr. Malik further said that it is also important to sustain these engagements and one example is by incorporating Inclusive Business (IB) in the companies’ corporate social agenda.
Another forum speaker, Director Caroline Grace N. Pedragosa of the PBSP-IB Center explained that IB is the integration of low-income and marginalized households along the company’s value chain as producers, business partners, employees, or consumers to develop self-reliant communities. IB is as one of the business models included in the BSFB for possible adoption by investors in the ARMM considering its impact on job generation and livelihood.
BOI Governor Napoleon Concepcion in his message during the forum stressed that local governments play key roles in investment promotion and generation since the first interactions with the investors begins at the local level. “LGUs being at the forefront of investment facilitation providing first-hand support services need to strengthen their capacities particularly their Local Economic Investments Promotion Officers/Offices (LEIPOs) to fully unfold the economic potentials of each area and the region as a whole”, Concepcion further said.
In a statement, ARMM governor, Mujiv Hataman said that the BSFB will be used for investment promotion and policy advocacy for ARMM’s economic development. “It is also expected that it will lead to investors engaging in sustainable businesses complying to standards and taking into consideration the effect of their projects in terms of profits, people and environment”, Hataman added.(Source: RBOI)