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Posted on: Wednesday, November 08, 2017
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By Nasrimah R. Sampaco


In line with the Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda (CRDA) of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of decentralizing the economy by spreading the fruits of development outside Metro-Manila and bringing equitable growth, benefit and opportunities across the country particularly conflict-affected areas and predominantly Muslim communities in Mindanao, the Mindanao State University, TESDA, Mindanao Development Authority and ARMM together with Sahar Pharmaceuticals Incorporated, and S&S Enterprise Incorporated have collaborated to undertake the holding of 2017 MUSLIM BUSINESS CONGRESS with the theme: Business Opportunities, Challenges and Prospects in Mindanao. The CRDA is the flagship program of President Duterte in the ARMM and other less fortunate provinces as forerunner to push socio-economic progress, peace initiatives, poverty-alleviation and private sectors empowerment in order to attract investment and capital that can generate employment, more revenues to government and minimize the incidence of hostilities and polarization of Muslim population.


This event was held at Royal Mandaya Hotel in Davao City on March 19, 2017, a day after the successful launching of Mindanao Peace Summit which was also held at the same venue. Likewise, it was sponsored by the above government agencies and private establishments. The business congress was attended by high ranking government officials, successful businessmen and entrepreneurs, industry leaders, civil societies, NGO’s representatives, and professionals especially the academic communities. Its primary goal is to promote and encourage business environment and sustainable economic development conducive to investment opportunities in the region aimed at empowering the private sector as a prime mover of development. TESDA Director General Atty. Guiling A. Mamondiong, in his keynote speech, stressed the importance of community transformation and people’s empowerment through livelihood enhancement, capability building, skills training, and manpower development with appropriate technology transfer in the ARMM and other conflict-affected areas. Prominent among the speakers, guests, representatives and participants who attended this event were the following personalities, namely:   Vice Governor Mamintal A. Adiong, Jr. of the Province of Lanao del Sur; Prof. Aisah G. Minukon, Asst. Dean of MSU-College of Public Affairs;  Atty. Ishak V. Mastura, Head of Board of Investments, ARMM; Mr. John Y. Gaisano of the Davao Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Dr. Safrullah M. Dipatuan, Chairman of Bangsamoro Development Agency; Atty. Arifa M. Alauya-Ala of Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Hon. Congresswoman Sitti Djalia Hataman, representing AMIN Partylist; Dr. Violeta H. Engracia, Dean of College of Public Affairs and, Dr. Minombao Ramos-Mayo, Dean of MSU-Graduate School.


The primary objectives within which this congress is focussed are the following, to wit: identifying business opportunities, challenges, issues, and strategies on how to improve the business and industry in the region; empowering the private sectors and providing job opportunities and livelihood creation in the areas of service, industrial and agricultural sectors; enhancing the flow of local and international trade in the region; financial access and inclusion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) including Islamic Banking in the Philippines; and drafting business proposals for funding sources and resolutions; among others. During the presentation of the output of the participants, Ms. Crislea D. Celeste of DSWD-CARAGA, Butuan City, emphasized the urgent need of providing concrete mechanism including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the development process, as a major economic driving force, which must be supported with better access of financing and credit line facilities. It was also proposed that a Technical Working Team must be commissioned to conduct a study on the viability of establishing transhipment port in Tawi-Tawi including the imposition of all passage of foreign vessels through the Sebatu-Simunul Channel and to recognize the confederation of Mindanao Royal Sultanate as partner of government in the pursuit for peace, socio-cultural and economic development in Mindanao through Presidential Executive Order.



In closing the program, the Muslim Business Congress has come up with a strong recommendation unanimously declaring that the triumvirate  MSU System, TESDA and ARMM shall work side by side, in close consideration and cooperation with concerned agencies and instrumentalities,  in pursuing scientific and technical support, skills training, financial access to credit line facilities, research assistance and extension services to the private sectors, particularly the stock corporations, cooperatives and micro, small and medium business enterprises, altogether ready to feed the frenzied wheel of industries. The best policy, therefore, is “increased production with corresponding increased money supply in circulation.” As it will generate more employment and more revenues to government triggering a chain reaction of a booming business activity

The Following is the official Business Congress Statement;


Business Congress Statement





WHEREAS, Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda (CRDA) is the flagship program of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and conflict-affected areas to usher socio-economic development, reduce poverty, promote inclusive growth, encourage businesses, generate employment and minimize conflict.


WHEREAS, Atty. Guiling Mamondiong, Director General of TESDA, is tasked by the President Duterte to coordinate with other agencies and instrumentalities of the Government especially with the Regional Government of ARMM and public institutions in the region.


WHEREAS, one of the main thrusts of the CRDA is to enhance the private sector and promote inclusive economic growth of ARMM and conflict-affected areas as well as creating an economically viable, stable and self-reliant region addressing wholly the issues of poverty, high unemployment, low standard of living, balanced environment, human resource development, transfer of technology and equitable distribution of wealth and socio-economic development.


WHEREAS, there is a dire need for adequate research, policy studies and development planning on the need of the ARMM and conflict-affected areas as well as the necessity for closer collaboration and partnership between the academe and the government and private sectors to jointly work in addressing the multifaceted maladies afflicting the ARMM and conflict affected areas.


WHEREAS, in concord with CRDA, the Mindanao State University System (MSUS), an esteemed state university in Mindanao took the initiatives and affirmative action to launch this Business Congress to create avenues where the academia, the private sectors and the government together with their various agencies and instrumentalities can work together for the fulfilment of the goals and objectives of the CRDA.



WHEREAS, true to essence, the uttered neglect of the National Government and corruption in the government resulted to the sense of hopelessness among the people. For so long, there were few industrial establishments to unleash the productive forces and secure livelihood for the people of Mindanao. Aside from agriculture, micro and small-scale buy and sell businesses, the only other source of livelihood and employment is the public sector either through appointment or through 

baneful elections. The severe lack of employment and livelihood resources along with the unbridled enticement of elective positions made politics and elections of major importance to the survival of families and clan. Against the backdrop of grinding poverty, the competition for occupation of positions of power and virtual ownership of public funds naturally included the use of violence.


WHEREAS, based on the major outputs of the workshop on issues and concerns, it manifested several challenges; factors and the possible solution are enlisted as follows: Illegal Drug related Problem (Proliferation and Addiction); Unstable Peace and Order Problem; Light and Power Problem; Funding/ Financing Problem; Man-power and Industry Needs’ Mismatch; Inadequate Post Harvest facilities; inadequate Infrastructure Traffic Congestion and Improper Solid Waste Management, Non Alignment of Curricular offerings and Industry Needs and Inadequate skills  caused by Poverty, Graft and Corruption, Education Gap, Quest for Self-Determination, Family feud (redo), Mismanagement in some ECs, Power Shortage and right of way problem, poor knowledge on Islamic Financing, Non Competitive Capitalization of Al-Amanah Bank, Lack of Islamic Financing Windows, Poor Coordination between HEIs and Industry Inadequate capitalization and Centralized Government; Thus following solutions are recommended: a.) Construction of Rehabilitation Centers; b.) Establishment of Compre hensive and Inclusive Programs, such as: Livelihood, Anti-drug, Information and Awareness Campaign, capability Building, Consultation Dialogue, Enforcement of Solid Waste Management (RA 9003), and Legislation of Traffic Laws; c.) Institutionalization of Bai’ Tul Mal; d.) Embracing Federalism and Genuine BBL; e.) strengthening of the roles of Religious and Traditional Leaders; f.) Inclusion of Peace Education in the Curricular Offerings of HEIs; g.) Firming of Political will; h.) Provid9ing of Consultancy Services by MSU Pool of Experts.


Whereas, bsed on the outputs of the workshop on business and investment opportunities after considering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), assessment of the available natural resources, abundance of raw materials, processed products and manpower skills for offering services, and using the following screening criteria: Marketability, Availability of facilities, Machines and equipment; Availability of Manpower with skills and expertise; Availability of the supply of raw materials; Social Impact and Access to Capital, the following are identified to be the top selected products and business proposals: Halal Food Basket (rice, vegetables, fruits, spices, seafood, poultry and livestock products); Raw Materials (Rattan, Abaca, Cocoa, Bamboo and Coco Coir), Product Packaging Laboratories, Distribution Facilities, Marketing (Promotion) Channels, Islamic Micro Financing Services, Research and Development Centers such as Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation as well as Tourism Development and Promotion Center, manpower Skills and Services (Rural Impact Sourcing, Education and Consultancy services) and Installation of Wind Mill, Solar Power and Hydro Electric Power Plant in various parts of Mindanao.



WHEREAS, recognizing the following proposed development agenda, such as Improving Business Climate and Investment Opportunities; Streamlining Business Permits and Licensing; Strengthening Local Governance; Increasing Opportunities in Agri-Culture and Aqua-Culture;  Improving Investment Rate and Local Competitiveness; Improving Fiscal Positions; Sufficient Financial and Technical Support to Mindanao; Strong Coordination in Planning and implementation resulting to high cost of domestic transport, underutilization on the existing transport facilities and among others; increase investment in infrastructure to stimulate development in ARMM and Creation of Decent and Productive jobs. Thus the following policy plans and strategies must be taken into consideration: (1) Coordinating with National Line department for a unified position on rationalization of fiscal incentives by securing passage of rationalization of fiscal incentives in Mindanao; (2) Pursuing energy independence and competitive power rates; (3) the World Bank Group led by the IFC, implemented in the Philippine Investment Promotion Project (4) Government Institutions working with the academe for policy studies, development planning, review of investment opportunities, feasibility studies and other researches and undertakings to enhance business climate in Mindanao; (5) Possible tie ups with the LGUs in identifying various investment opportunities in their area especially in agriculture, mining and fisheries venture; 6) Cutting red-tape in the number of steps to establish business; (7) reducing the numbers of agencies responsible issuing permits and licenses for business; (8) establishing a one-stop shop for business permits and licensing in the ARMM; (9) Accelerating the implementation of LGU financing framework to include LGU credit access; (10) Development and implementation of a mechanism for providing performance-based incentives to LGUs; (11) Improve implementation, coordination and increase coverage of capacity building initiatives, especially for planning, budgeting, investment programming and project preparation; (12) Push for the amendment of the Local Government Code, including IRA policy; (13) More focused and strategic infrastructure investments; improve absorptive capacity and actual implementation by  infrastructure agencies, address the high cost of transportation; (14) Fast-track projects for virtual and physical inter-regional connectivity DOTC, DPWH, PPA; (15) Expand market access for agriculture and fishery products (domestic and foreign), improve access to microcredit with private sector taking a bigger role; (16) Promote su8ccessful credit programs by supporting micro, small and medium enterprises especially among farmers and fishermen, craftsmen; (17) Rationalize investment in agri-sub-sector (land vs sea-based, grains vs tree crops, food security vs food self-sufficiency); (18) More comprehensive convergence of rural development in the uplands; (19) Continue reducing the costs  of doing business by making processes easier, faster and simpler through the implementation of Philippine Business Registry (PBR), National Single Window (NSW), Business Permits and Licensing Systems (BPLS) in Local Government Units (LGUs) and  addressing inconsistencies between national and local laws through Local Investment and Incentive Codes (LIIC); (20) Strengthen property rights and land use policy through the passage of the national Land Use Bill and consolidate the functions of several land registration and administration agencies through the Land Administration Act (LAA); (21) remove barriers to investments by passing the Antitrust Act and strengthening enforcement, continuing to engage in free agreements (FTAs), and liberalizing restrictions to foreign ownership in economic sectors to  create a level playing field for all firms; (22) Promote small and medium enterprise particularly in the tourism and agribusiness sectors; (23) Explore creation of risk sharing/agri fund possibly

linked to agri-agra Law, Scale up provision of shared services for equipment  by economic cluster ; (24) Raise the revenue –to GDP ratio to create fiscal space to finance greater spending on priority social sectors and infrastructure Identified in the social contract) while maintaining a budget deficit by completing reform of the BIR, modernizing the BOC including passage of the Custom Modernization Act, Mining taxation reform, and rationalizing tax incentives including transparent reporting of tax expenditures; (25) Enhance the efficiency and transparency of public spending to achieve more with less trough proactive liability management and introduction of a Treasury Single Account (TSA) in 2013, implementation of the government integrated financial management information system (GIFMIS) by 2015 and improved fiscal reporting and a timely and transparent PPP program to crowd-in private investment while paying due regard to fiscal risks; (26) Provide basic infrastructure (e.g. transport, power and irrigation) in Mindanao and harness its potential through R&D in Agriculture and agra-processing, development of trade and tourism, as well as maximizing the benefits of world-class mineral deposits through responsible mining that plays a fair share to the government and local communities; (27) Provide financial and technical support to Mindanao to build revenue raising and administrative capacity to scale-up social and infrastructure spending in the region over the medium-term while providing an immediate support program to combatants and those affected by the conflict to achieve a peace dividend; (28) Address potential impediments to local investment such as the need for counterpart funds by LGU with revenue constraints as well as linking investments to sectoral and national strategies; (29) Adopt a coherent and efficient intermodal transport roadmap that will connect major centers and rationalize infrastructure investment, integrating the national and local transport services and facilities; (30) Augment the stimulus fund for infrastructure, livelihood program and basic social services for ARMM; (31) Set priorities based on existing ARMM investment program; (32) Adopt a virtual one-stop-shop to process applications; (33) Address critical constraints to decent employment- infrastructure, investment, incoherent policies; (34) Address mismatch in jobs and skills and generate more employment (Fast track implementation of the Philippine Qualification Framework); and (35) Curb smuggling so that industries can thrive (level the playing field.)


NOW, THEREFOREW BE IT RESOLVED AS IT SHOULD BE RESOLVED THAT the following proposals and recommendations be transmitted to concerned agencies of the government, private groups and associations, individuals and other stakeholders.

The Business Congress proclaims that MSU, TESDA and the ARMM shall base their engagement on the following key principles as follows:



Mutual Collaboration and Benefits- MSU will pursue to expand its research assistance and extension services to the private sectors by serving not only as a facilitator for the exchange of ideas among business and industry players but also as a venue for research and development.

In turn, MSU can also learn and get feedback as to what the required skills and set of knowledge are needed by private sectors in today’s world. This gives MSU the opportunity to improve and enhance its curriculum to suit the needs of businesses and industries.


Partnership in Scientific and Practical Research and Development- MSU plans to foster both research and development in Science and for Practical application in businesses and industries. MSU believes that through the mixture of sharing researches, innovations and experience between the academe and the industry can efficiently and effectively jumpstart the economy.


Sharing of Opportunities and Experiences- MSU believes that investment opportunities, access to financing and networking with other countries especially among ASEAN and BIMP-EAGA are ample to fulfil the needs of ARMM and conflict-affected areas. Unfortunately, many businesses and entrepreneurs are unaware or unable to access these opportunities due to lack of knowledge, contacts or means to do so. Various opportunities are foregone due to the inability of businesses and entrepreneurs in the region to access them.


Affiliation with Renowned Business Leaders and Industry Experts- MSU hopes that the resource speakers at the Business Congress representing both the academe, the government and the private sector can provide valuable insights and meaningful perspective on enhancing the business climate in the ARMM and the conflict-affected areas. Moreover, MSU aspires to affiliate with business leaders and industry experts to share their knowledge and experiences to the future generation.

Expand Networks and Knowledge Base- MSU believes in building and fostering long lasting relationship and sharing knowledge goes beyond the Business Congress. Thus, there is a need to create a permanent venue for the regular exchange of ideas and knowledge among the academe, the government and the private sector. This requires the establishment of the Muslim Business and Industry Congress, which will serve as the organization that will liaise and coordinate with different chambers of commerce, business associations, trade groups, industry union and the like. As such the Muslim Business and Industry Congress can also serve as advisers and facilitators of business and industry related events and endeavours.


Drafting Business Proposals and Fund Sourcing- MSU believes that at the end of the Business Congress, businessmen, entrepreneurs and investors will be interested in pursuing concrete steps in drafting business and investment proposals to be submitted for ventures among various investors and funding agencies.



Further, MSU being the second largest state university system in the country is steadfast in pursuing peace and development in Mindanao and in strengthening its roles through close partnership and collaboration with TESDA and the ARMM, hereby expresses its united stand and statement to recommend to conduct the activities to wit:


Ratifying Memorandum of Understanding/Agreement- MSU through agreements to be signed by TESDA and the ARMM can serve as center for policy research, development studies and support

institutions for research and development as well as consultant for the various endeavours, programs and projects of TESDA and the ARMM.


Preparation of Business Proposals/Plans- Mindano, known as the Land of Promise for its bountiful and fertile land, wealth of natural resources and strategic location, requires some rethinking on how to harness such blessings without sacrificing the environment. Thus, the need to craft business plans, feasibility studies and other form of proposals that will lead higher economic growth is essential and urgent in order to foster sustainable development.


Business Matching- This Business Congress invigorates potential investors, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to bring investment and start business in ARMM and conflict-affected areas. Representatives from national and regional board of investments also need to be invited to assist prospective investors and other local participants and delegates to consider the region in their business expansions.




Done in Royal Mandaya Hotel, Davao City on March 19, 2017.




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