In support of the government’s efforts to jumpstart the rehabilitation of the already-declared liberation of war-torn Marawi and its nearby affected localities from terrorists influence, the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) is proposing the inclusion of such areas in the list of Less Developed Areas (LDAs).
“Listing these areas as LDAs will encourage more investors, both local and foreign, to seriously look into investment opportunities in the said areas,” said Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Ceferino Rodolfo adding that such investments will mean more employment and income opportunities, and eventually lead to normalcy or even better quality of life for returning residents and internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in the affected areas.
Putting up investment projects in LDAs are entitled to maximum incentives provided under the Omnibus Investments Code including a 100 percent deduction from taxable income of necessary and major infrastructure works. As provided for in the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP)—a listing of the preferred priority investment activities that maybe given incentives, among the activities entitled to incentives are manufacturing, agribusiness, services, infrastructure, logistics, power generation, and mass housing.
Complementary to the government’s socio-economic agenda to uplift the lives of Filipinos and attain inclusive growth, the BOI has been at the forefront of facilitating and approving investment projects that are impactful, socially-relevant, labor intensive, and promotes innovation, while at the same time making sure that these projects are of national interests and makes responsible use of the country’s resources.
Earlier in 2016, the BOI Board, through Resolution No. 1902 Series of 2016 and adopted by Memorandum Circular No. 2016-003, approved the inclusion of 134 calamity-stricken cities and municipalities including those devastated by Yolanda in the list of LDAs in the 2014-2016 IPP. The initiative aims to stabilize and fast track the socio-economic rehabilitation and re-development in the areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda back in 2013.
Already, the BOI approved a total of 92 projects worth Php141.36 Billion in areas highly affected by super typhoon Yolanda from November 2013 to October 2017. These investment projects will generate around 12,622 in new jobs at full operations.
About 83 percent of the approved investment projects are power projects where 27 of which are renewable energy, two bunker fired power plant, one diesel fired power plant, one energy storage and one energy source exploration project. The remaining 17 percent of the registered investment activities are shared by the sectors of transportation and storage (four percent), Manufacturing (four percent), Real Estate Activities mostly mass housing projects (four percent), accommodation and food service (three percent), and the remaining sectors (two percent).
Trade Secretary and BOI Chairman Ramon Lopez meanwhile reassured foreign and local investors that the government fully prioritizes restoration of peace and order in the country, safeguarding not only the citizens but also the security of businesses and investments.
“We wish to reassure our investors that the peace and order climate in the country remains stable and sound,” he said adding that the government guarantees protection of investments the right to repatriate profits and benefit from the administration’s drive for zero corruption.
President Rodrigo Duterte on October 17, 2017 declared Marawi and its nearby localities free from terrorist influence, marking the beginning of the much-needed rehabilitation of the areas. The President also earlier issued Administrative Order No. 03 creating Task Force Bangon Marawi, an inter-agency task force for the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of Marawi and the other affected localities. Among the functions of the task force is to develop and implement a comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery program based on a post-conflict assessment, and form sub-committees to focus on different areas for development.
The Department of Trade & Industry, BOI’s mother agency, along with the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), constitute the member agencies of the Sub-committee on business and livelihood.
Already, the Sub-committee led by DTI distributed livelihood starter kits such as sewing kits and sari-sari store supplies to IDPs in Marawi and nearby areas, allowing them to start anew and earn even while still in evacuation centers.
In late September 2017, the DTI also launched the Bangon Marawi Product Store its Main Office in Makati City showcasing Maranao products on sale to the public such as brassware, wooden furniture, wearables, woven products, jewelry, fashion accessories, and native delicacies. The sales and proceeds of the Bangon Marawi products will go to the Maranaos who produced the products. DTI also carries the Bangon Marawi products in all Go Lokal! stores nationwide.
The other Sub-committees with their lead agencies include: the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the immediate repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction of public schools, national roads and bridges and government buildings; the Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS) for the immediate rehabilitation and construction of temporary permanent shelters, and restoration of water, electricity and other public utilities; the DSWD and the Department of Health (DOH) for the provision of sanitation and health facilities, medical supplies, food, portable water, and other basic necessities; and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the restoration and maintenance of peace and order, and continuity of public services in the city.
The President committed a P10-20 billion budget for the Task Force to implement a comprehensive, multi-year plan for the rehabilitation efforts.
The economy of Marawi has been largely based on agriculture, particularly rice and corn, and exportation of handicrafts.
The Regional Board of Investments-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-ARMM) which regulates and exercises authority over investments within the ARMM, offers incentives to activities engaged in agriculture, agribusiness/aquaculture & fishery, basic industries, consumer manufactures, infrastructure and services, industrial service facilities, engineering industries, logistics, BIMP–EAGA trade and investment enterprises, tourism, health and education services and facilities and halal industry.♦