The creation of the Regional Economic Zone Authority (REZA) has paved the way for making the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as a Regional Growth Center in BIMP-EAGA where it could promote and support the establishment of economic zones, industrial and growth center to attract local and foreign investment to spur economic growth in the ARMM.
The Administration of Regional Governor Mujiv S. Hataman repositioned the REZA to open the gates of economic opportunities. Specially, Governor Hataman envisions REZA to take the lead in spearheading the economic Development Pillar of the region. As a result, the Polloc Freeport was established which generated higher employment opportunities at the same time established linkages among industries in/around ARMM, national and international agencies.
Dr. Haji Zulkifly Baharom, ICIFE Project Director & Exco was invited to participate and facilitate in the 3-day workshop 27-29 September at Pagana Kutawato and the Office of ARMM Regional Governor in Cotabato City. The workshop deliberated the five (5) development areas of interventions, viz: 1) institutional strengthening; 2) infrastructure development and logistic support; 3) capacity building for economic promotion and development; 4) linkages, networks and partnership promotions; and, 5) specific implementation of Islamic banking and finance.
With the newly installed Philippines national government and the fast-paced changes in the region’s economy including the new appointment of the Executive Director Br Aleem Siddiqui Guiapal; REZA’s Board of Directors strongly recommended to adopt policy direction 2017-2019. Development of a new strategic plan therefore, became necessary to enable REZA transfornto a highly operating agency as well as identify and select the appropriate strategies of utilizing the resources and skills available in REZA to achieve specified goals, objectives and projects.
Director Aleem would quickly present the outcome of this 3-day forum to ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman and his Cabinet ministers for appropriate follow-up action. Concurrently, the resolutions and feedback would be shared with the Organizers of Bangsamoro Economic Development Conference (BEDC) on Islamic Economic and Finance scheduled on 16 – 18 February 2017 at Manila Hotel. Contributors of papers for deliberation at the said conference must focus on the topics related to issues faced by ARMM, REZA and Bangsamoro community in Mindanao and also in the Philippines.