COTABATO CITY — The three-week old and still on ongoing military offensive against lawless Moro armed men in Maguindanao did not affect or scare away investors in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), officials said Friday.
Lawyer Mimbalawag Mangutara Jr., regional port manager of Polloc Port in Maguindanao, said as the province’s gateway to local and foreign trade investments, the port has entered into new lease agreements with companies that will pour in long term investments.
Mangutara, also heads the Regional Economic Zone Authority (Reza).
“Life must go on despite the conflict,” Mangutara said as he and Rob Scott, corporate executive officer of the Iron Blaze Petroleum, Inc., laid the corner stone Friday morning for the construction of a 7-million liter capacity oil depot in Maguindanao’s seaport.
“The investors have not back out of their investments in the region,” Lawyer Ishak Mastura, chairman of the Regional Board of Investments (RBOI-ARMM), said.
“Even in the aftermath of the Mamasapano tragedy, nothing has change in the investors’ plan to help ARMM developed,” Mastura said.
The Mamasapano incident left 44 Police Special Action Commandos, 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas and five civilians killed
In December 2013, the Iron Blaze Petroleum, Inc. imported some 260,000 liters of light crude from Sabah in Borneo Island for the region.
Mangutara told reporters that the Polloc Port revenue has increased 420 percent from Php 690,000.00 in 2013 to Php 3.6 million in 2014.
With Php 863 million in the first quarter, the ARMM has exceeded its 2015 target of Php 500 million in aggregate worth of investments, according to the RBOI.