IDLE LANDS NO MORE. The vast tracts of lands in Matanog, Maguindanao, are now productive areas with the pouring in of over PHP468 million worth of investments by three firms that engage in the production of Cavendish and Cardava bananas. The once strife-torn town has transformed into an economic zone following the setting up of new plantations where former Moro rebels are employed. (Photo courtesy of Bangsamoro Information Office - BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – A PHP468- million investment has turned a former strife-torn area into an economic zone in Maguindanao and is now providing former Moro combatants with jobs.

The Cavendish and Cardava banana business in several plantations in Matanog, Maguindanao, used to be the site where bloody firefights between government forces and Moro rebels took place in the 2000s.

“The fields (in Matanog) were once a war zone and now (it is) an economic zone in the region,” said Regional Bangsamoro Board of Investments (BBOI) Board Governor Mohammad Pasigan said in a statement Wednesday.

Pasigan identified the investors that poured in over PHP468 million worth of capital as the Usman Banana Farm-Cardava, Tayan Banana Farm-Cavendish, and the Abai Banana Farm-Cavendish.

Together, they employ some 519 workers who were once members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

While BBOI is responsible for the development of investments in the BARMM, Pasigan said it also leads in the promotion of various industries and investment opportunities, as well as assist potential investors.

The BBOI is also mandated to monitor the status of registered companies, purposely to revisit and review regional investment policies.

“Our office encourages investor-friendly and effective partnerships among registered companies in the region,” Pasigan said. (PNA)