COTABATO CITY -- The newly ratified Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is up to a good start this year after a PHP1.4-billion sand and gravel project was approved by the Regional Board of Investments (RBOI), officials said Thursday.
This came after the board accepted the registration of JMI Sand & Gravel and Truck Services Corp.
Lawyer Ishak Mastura, chair of RBOI of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said this is the very first project approved by the board after the ratification of the BOL this January and “perhaps the biggest (investment) this year.”
The BOL provides the legal framework to replace ARMM and establish a new political entity, to be called the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The JMI firm, based in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, is an accredited supplier of sand and gravel supplying southwest Mindanao, including Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
Mastura said JMI is in a joint venture agreement (JVA) with Classic Centre International Ltd. (CCIL) Mining and Mineral Resources Corp. in the dredging and realignment of the Simuay River and shoreline.
He said CCIL is registered in Hong Kong with proven track record in mineral exploration, mining operations, shipment, and other international transactions.
Mastura said the approval of the project will allow JMI to enjoy incentives from the government, such as income tax holidays (ITH), duty-free importation on capital equipment, and other applicable incentives.
“We are grateful that despite political uncertainties brought about by the transition from ARMM to BOL, investors still want to have a first-mover advantage even before the transitional government is set up,” he said.
Mastura also explained that the Simuay River dredging project is a great solution to the problem of recurring flash floods as a mitigating measure to control and reduce flooding of the river’s floodplain.
Flashfloods regularly occur when the Simuay River overflows, inundating communities in Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura and other towns, destroying properties and damaging livestock and agricultural products.
Sultan Kudarat Municipal Mayor Datu Shameem Mastura threw his all-out support to the project because it will help his town address the flood and soil erosion problems of the Simuay River through dredging and silting without cost to the government.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman described the project as a “positive development in protecting the locals.”
“It will make communities safe and optimistic, generate jobs and revenues and push for economic growth,” Hataman said. “This is a positive way to jumpstart the BARMM as we transition from ARMM.”