BARMM OKs P306-M pineapple packing plant in Lanao Sur

By Noel Punzalan and Edwin Fernandez

September 21, 2019, 12:08 pm

<p>The administrative building of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in Cotabato City. <em><strong>(Photo courtesy of BPI – BARMM)</strong></em></p>

The administrative building of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in Cotabato City. (Photo courtesy of BPI – BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – More than 700 locals are expected to be employed in the Lanao del Sur town of Wao after the establishment of a PHP306-million pineapple packing plant in the area.

This came after the Regional Board of Investments of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-BARMM) approved on Friday the registration of the Wao Development Corp. (WDC) for the establishment of a packing plant in Barangay Banga, Wao, starting this month.

In a statement, the RBOI-BARMM said WDC, a subsidiary of Dole Philippines, will infuse fresh investment capital for the new facility to improve its packing process and maximize its packing capacity to about five million boxes per year.

Eshan Karl Mabang, RBOI-BARMM executive director, said the project is expected to employ 753 workers. The firm will export 100 percent of its products to Singapore through Dole Asia Holdings.

Mabang noted that WDC’s decision to put up investment in less-developed areas would allow the firm to enjoy incentives from the government, such as income tax holidays, duty-free importation on capital equipment, and other applicable incentives upon the start of the project’s commercial operation.

The RBOI-BARMM said the company is known for its Rainforest Alliance Certification, a compliance of international environmental standards. It also implements Corporate Social Responsibility activities related to health, and education, among others, which will benefit the people of Wao.

Next to banana, pineapple is the second most popular tropical fruit in the Philippines and one of its primary agricultural exports.

More than 75 percent of pineapple production comes from Mindanao, including those from two BARMM provinces -- Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur. Pineapples are processed into juice, jellies and jams, dried fruit, pineapple vinegar, and fruit cocktail.

“The approval of the WDC project is a good sign that the Bangsamoro region is fast becoming an investment destination of choice by investors,” RBOI-BARMM Governor Sukarno Baraguir said.|

“We are bullish that more investors will come because of the sustainable peace that we are experiencing now. This will make the region a more conducive and competitive place for business,” Baraguir added. (PNA)