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ARMM investment officials embark on study tour in Bukidnon

Investment officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Monday commenced their study visit to a firm in Bukidnon province to work on ethical investment practices of Hneleban Foundation Inc (HFI).

HFI has worked with Unifrutti Philippines Incorporation, the biggest ARMM investor in 1015 with its PHP3.7 banana plantation in Maguindanao.

The ARMM government delegation was headed by Lawyer Ishak Mastura, chairperson of the ARMM Regional Board of Investments (RBOI).

Mastura said the March 6-9 educational trip is part of the capability building component of the Brokering Business Investments in the Bangsamoro to Achieve Inclusive Development and Growth or the BRIDGe Project which is being implemented by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Hineleban Foundation Inc. in collaboration with RBOI-ARMM.

Mastura said that the activity is an initial step of the documentation process for the setting up of the Business Sustainability Framework in the Bangsamoro (BSFB), the backbone of the BRIDGe Project.

“The BSFB intends to strengthen the capacity of RBOI to facilitate the development of the Bangsamoro-specific business investment standards and protocols that will empower both the communities and business to engage into sustainable business enterprise,” Mastura said.

The education trip will help participants to familiarize with the concept and components of the Business Sustainability Framework (BSF), boost appreciation on the practical application of the BSF as part of the business model of the Unifrutti Tropical Philippines, Incorporated (UTPI) and explore application areas for the BSF in the ARMM.

Mastura said RBOI-ARMM will study how Unifrutti’s banana plantations operations which spill-over into the two ARMM Municipalities of Wao and Bumbaran, Lanao del Sur, and have managed to invest in those areas with sustainable investment practices, both ecologically and socio-culturally.

Highlights of the trip include community interactions and field visits to Unifrutti’s assisted projects through HFI particularly at Tuminugan Farm where the participants will be exposed to coffee, reforestation, bamboo and demo farm projects.

Also in the itinerary is a site visit at Tagbak Food Security Project.

ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman said that the BRIDGe project is a milestone accomplishment of his administration.

“It’s about time that we define the role and behavior of corporations and partner-communities who wish to make sustainable and responsible agribusiness investments in the ARMM,” Hataman said.

Other members of the delegation for the benchmarking initiative include representatives Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-ARMM), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-ARMM), Regional Planning and Development Office (RPDO-ARMM) and Cooperative Development Authority (CDA-ARMM) will also be participating in the benchmarking initiative.

These agencies belonged to the region's Economic Growth and Linkage Cluster. (PNA) LAP/NYP/EOF