COTABATO CITY – A bill has been filed with the regional parliament seeking to propel economic development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) through the creation of a regional ecozone agency.
On Friday, Member of Parliament (MP) Amir Mawallil, a former journalist-turned-BARMM legislator, said he filed Parliament Bill 129, otherwise known as the Bangsamoro Economic Zone Act of 2021, to create the Bangsamoro Economic Zone Authority (BEZA).
“The creation of the BEZA will generate jobs, especially in the rural areas, increase their productivity and their individual and family income, and ultimately to improve the level and quality of their living condition,” Mawallil said of the proposal he submitted before the Bangsamoro Transition Authority plenary on Thursday afternoon.
In particular, he said the bill intends to promote the flow of investors into the region, which would then generate employment opportunities for the Bangsamoro people and ensure that products unique to the region gain considerable access to the domestic and global markets.
“Upcoming economic zones that will be established in the region shall be developed into decentralized, self-reliant, and sustainable agro-industrial and commercial investment centers, which shall be operated and treated as a separate customs territory,” he said.
Once formed, the Bangsamoro economic zones, which will be developed in different key areas across the region, will assist the regional government to entice international markets, as well as local and foreign investors, to take notice of the resources and investment desirability of the BARMM.
The local economic zones are also expected to facilitate the marketing and export of goods and services produced by several industries.
Mawallil said the emerging global and regional opportunities for Halal and Islamic finance, as well as the strong support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to peace and development, promises well for the region’s socio-economic development, through the creation of the BEZA.
The lawmaker from Sulu said he is confident and optimistic that the passage of the BEZA Act will capitalize on the rich natural resources that BARMM has, in addition to several comparative advantages that can be utilized to improve the current state of the region, its government, and its people.
The bill is supported and co-sponsored by MPs Laisa Alamia, Baintan Ampatuan, Suharto Ambolodto, Don Mustapha Loong, Rasol Mitmug Jr., Abraham Burahan, and Sittie Shahara Mastura. (PNA)