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Customs bureau, ARMM forge Polloc Port improvement deal

Economic News • 01:17 AM Sat Nov 7, 2015
John Unson
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman (right) and Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina show the agreement they signed in Davao City Friday. (John Unson)

COTABATO CITY -The Bureau of Customs and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Friday agreed to help each other push forward the fledgling Regional Economic Zone Authority (REZA) in support of the economic agenda of the southern peace process.The REZA was created in 2003 during the time of ARMM Gov. Parouk Hussin, but remained a paper tiger owing to lack of political determination to put its mechanisms at work.Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina and ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman signed here Friday a joint memorandum of agreement (JMO) binding the offices they each represent to mutually cooperate in revitalizing the operations of the International Polloc Port, seat of REZA, located in Parang town in Maguindanao.Hataman said their efforts to improve the operations of Polloc Port with the help of the BOC and to put the REZA into action is parallel with the economic agenda of President Benigno Aquino III’s peace overture with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.Hataman said the JMO he and Lina signed, in a symbolic rite at a function facility of the Park Inn Hotel in Davao City on Friday, will help address ARMM’s being void of essential customs and function powers to maximize the operation of the Polloc Port.Functions and powers of the BOC are not among those the national government can devolve to the ARMM, which exists based on a regional charter, Republic Act 9054.The Polloc Port, supposedly a major economic corridor in Central Mindanao, was so mismanaged during the time of past ARMM governors, despite having ministerial control over the Regional Ports Management Authority (RPMA).The primary function of the RPMA is to operate and market the domestic and international trading viabilities of the port.He said the JMO will put forward the rules needed to maximize the operations of REZA, amid the influx of investors the present ARMM administration invited to put up agricultural plantations in the autonomous region.Hataman said he is grateful to Hexan Mabang, executive director of REZA, and Datu Ishak Mastura, chairperson of the ARMM’s Regional Board of Investments, who worked together in drafting the JMO.Mastura was one of the proponents of REZA’s creation by the ARMM’s 24-seat Regional Legislative Assembly.The signing of the JMO was witnessed by ARMM’s regional vice governor, Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, Mayor Ibrahim Ibay of Parang, Hataman’s assistant secretary for Maguindanao, Kirby Abdullah, and regional chief-of-staff Rasol Mitmug, Jr.Also present in the event were ranking Davao City and Metro Manila-based BOC officials and a senior staff of Hataman, DatuAbdelwin Sangkula.The activity was capped off with the BOC’s grant of customs bonded warehouse accreditation certificate to enable two firms, the Terminal Facilities and Service Corporation and the Davao International Container Terminal, to expand their operations at the Polloc Port.

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