THREE companies have been given the green light for their proposed projects in the Bangsamoro with a combined outlay of over P734 million, the regional investment board announced at the weekend.
These are: P340.8 million from Nama Concrete Philippines Corporation (NAMA) for a pre-mixed cement facility in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao; P340.8 million from Mount Kalantungan Agri-Ventures, Inc. (MKAVI) for the expansion of its Cavendish banana production for export in Amai Manabilang, Lanao Del Sur; and P169.8 million from the Austrian Trade and Investment Group Asia, Inc. (ATIGA) for products relating to Halal coffee in Cotabato City.
“As we conduct our (most likely) last board meeting during the administration of President (Rodrigo R.) Duterte, we are glad that we are ending the term on a high note with three additional registered investment projects,” Bangsamoro Board of Investments Chairman Ishak V. Mastura said in a statement released by the regional government.
MKAVI’s project is an expansion of its existing operations that started 18 years ago.
“Since the start of our operation way back in 2004, our company did not fail in choosing its location for putting up banana plantation in the Bangsamoro region because Regional BBOI is always there ready to assist us, we thank the BARMM government for the approval of our new application,” MKAVI External Relations Officer Joyal Maquinto is quoted in the statement.
NAMA Manager Jabib Guiaber, for his part, said their facility will help ease cement supply in the region for various infrastructure projects.
ATIGA is setting up an assembly line that offers parts and components for coffee vending machines.
The new investments are expected to create 636 jobs, including 304 workers for NAMA, 213 for MKAVI, and 119 workers for ATIGA.
Meanwhile, the Bangsamoro Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board also approved last week a P16-minimum wage within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Under Wage Order No. 02, all minimum wage earners of the private sector in all industries are covered by the pay hike, except for family drivers, those employed in the personal service of another, and workers in registered Barangay micro enterprises.
Also exempted are retail and service establishments regularly employing up to 10 workers, and establishments validated as “distressed” or affected by disasters.
“After public consultations and hearings, the BARMM region’s wage increase is P16.00 in the meantime, since we also have to listen to our business sectors and we have to consider that they were also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bangsamoro Minister for Labor and Employment Muslimin Sema.
The last wage increase in the region took effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Current rates are: P300.00 for the non-agriculture sector and P290 for the agriculture sector in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi.
In Cotabato City, the regional center, and the 43 barangays in North Cotabato that are clustered as Special Geographic Area (SGA), existing rates are P325.00 for the non-agriculture sector and P300.00 for the agriculture sector.
The increased rates will take effect 15 days after publication of the wage order in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the region. — MSJ