The Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has granted provisional approval to an oil exploration project with investments of almost P1 billion. 

Atty. Ishak V. Mastura, chairman of the RBOI BARMM said EsMaulana Global Ventures Co. has proposed to invest P998 million for an oil exploration project in the region.

 Mastura said that at the 8th Anniversary “Tapatan sa Aristocrat Restaurant” forum   the RBOI approved the project in April this year. It is led by local investor Engr. Maulana is in partnership with foreign investors and banks from the Middle East.

Mastura explained that the conditional approval for EsMaulana is largely because its service contract has yet to be approved by the President. 

“But they are very serious in this project because they have already paid the P2 million oil and gas seismic survey data from the Department of Energy. The fee is non-refundable, indicating the level of seriousness of the investor,” said Mastura.

Given the processes involve, Mastura said the project proponent may have to wait until next year or perhaps until the next administration. The provisional approval, however, will enable the  proponent to prepare all the necessary documents and preparations for the project’s implementation. “The provisional approval will enable the company to start lining up their investors,” he added.

BARMM areas under the Philippine Contracting Round of the DOE include the Cotabato basin and Sulu basin. The project is expected to generate 211 workers.

Meantime, Mastura said that RBOI BARMM has also approved the P990 million project of Amavi Sweet Banana (ASB) for the development of 1,000 hectare banana plantation in Maguindanao. This project is expected to employ over 1,000 workers.

Wit these projects, Mastura said they have already exceeded their P1 billion investment target for the year. 

Additional projects in the BARMM include the revival of the 1,500 Paglas banana plantation which used to employ 2,000 people. The banana plantation was previously run by La Frutera. Paglas Corp., which owns the land, has already initial discussions with the RBOI for the registration of the project. “We will register this project because this is new investment,” he said.

Mastura also expects the registration of some tourism facilities in South Cotabato. He cited the P200 million tourism and barter facility project, which could serve as the barter goods center being established by businessman James Mnok. The facility will also include a mosque but is being redeveloped as an ideal location for barter trading and the display of handicrafts from the region. Mastura also noted that the proponent of the oil exploration project Engr. Maulana has proposed for the construction of a P100 million poultry project.

Source: Manila Bulletin (