Economic Freedom, Inc.
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On September 27, 2023, The Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) convened its monthly Fellows Meeting at the Manila Golf and Country Club. The featured speaker for the event was Mohamad Omar Pasigan, Chairperson of the Bangsamoro Board of Investments (BBOI), who delivered a presentation on investment opportunities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Pasigan underscored the pivotal role of infrastructure investment in the pursuit of enduring peace in the region. Despite having been a historical epicenter of numerous local and international conflicts spanning five centuries, BARMM has steadfastly maintained its autonomy, representing a 400-year long resistance against the Japanese, American, and Spanish colonizers. This resilience is what drives BARMM forward, said Pasigan.
Pasigan highlighted the undeniable investment potential within BARMM, including vast tracts of land, abundant natural resources, and its unique status as a typhoon-free zone in the Philippines. He pointed to BARMM’s rich agricultural resources, including coconut, abacca, coffee, and seaweed. Notably, Basilan stands out as the Philippines’ leading rubber producer. Additionally, the region boasts untapped reserves of oil and gas, making it an attractive proposition for prospective investors.
Pasigan also emphasized the region’s robust economic growth, which currently ranks as the second-highest in the Philippines at 7.2-7.5%. He stressed the commitment of regional officials to elevate this growth rate to double digits in the coming years.
Pasigan highlighted the central role of the BBOI in fostering economic development within the region. The BBOI’s mandate includes formulating investment policies, promoting joint business partnerships, and offering free business coaching. Importantly, Pasigan emphasized the primary objective of the BBOI, which is to ensure food security for the Bangsamoro people, contributing to long-lasting peace, order, and development. Pasigan firmly believes in the strong correlation between investment opportunities, job creation, and their far-reaching effects in resolving longstanding conflicts in the area.
To conclude his presentation, Pasigan emphasized the significance of engaging sectors, groups, and organizations external to BARMM in assisting the region in advancing its economic standing. Pasigan strongly believes that the development of BARMM not only benefits the region itself but also contributes to the economic and political growth of the entire country. He noted that as BARMM develops, the entire Philippines will reap the benefits.
In addition to the FEF Fellows in attendance, the meeting drew significant participation from key figures representing the Embassy of the UAE, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, The Asia Foundation, UP School of Urban and Regional Planning, Office of Senator Robin Padilla, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Alpha Primus Advisers, and other relevant organizations in the Philippines.
The Fellows Meeting is a monthly event held by FEF to discuss prevalent economic issues with economists, policymakers, and other decision-makers in the Philippines.