COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Board of Investments in the Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao (BBOI-BARMM) approved the registration of PHP398 million tourism-related investments for this city.
It was the first direct investment approved by the BBOI for the city that now forms part of the BARMM.
Owned by the Eight Z’s Properties Building Rentals located here, the investors intend to revive the old Barter Tourism Center wherein traditional barter goods, unique ethnic merchandise and souvenirs will be showcased and sold to tourists and visitors.
“This is a significant investment for us because this is the first investment registered with BBOI-BARMM for Cotabato City since it joined the BARMM after the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite in 2019,” BBOI-BARMM chairman Ishak Mastura said in a statement Friday.
Apart from the city, the BARMM also includes the cities of Marawi and Lamitan; the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Basilan, and Tawi-Tawi; and the 63 villages in six North Cotabato towns under its jurisdiction.
Mastura said Cotabato City, being the provisional capital of BARMM, continues to be a vibrant and strategic gateway destination for investments in the region.
He said the type of business is for stall rentals and tourism promotions showcasing handicrafts, souvenirs, brassware, traditional Moro crafts like “Inaul” (hand weaved tube skirts), and Muslim native food delicacies, among others.
“Barter trade centers are so popular to tourists and visitors who come to Mindanao, particularly in the BARMM, because of the distinctiveness of the merchandise that is being sold,” Mastura said.
Barter goods and souvenir items with various motifs and designs, including halal products particularly coming from Malaysia and Indonesia, are found in traditional barter trade centers throughout Mindanao.
Serving as a tourist attraction while catering to worship and other religious-related practices of Muslim visitors from here and abroad, a “Masjid” or mosque will be built alongside the building complex seen to provide an educational experience for visitors regarding the Islamic faith, Mastura added.
Tourism-related facilities and barter trade related to the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines-East Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Growth Area are included in the regional Investment Priorities Plan 2020.
“It is expected to generate job employment of about 500 locals,” Mastura said.
He said fiscal incentives will be given by the BBOI-BARMM to the investors, such as income tax holiday, reduced duties for the importation of capital equipment, tax credit, and deductions on labor expense, together with non-fiscal incentives, such as facilitation in customs procedures. (PNA)