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PIA Press Release

ARMM chambers decide to chart their own destiny

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (31 October) -- The local chambers of commerce in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) decided to bond together to chart their own destiny without the intervention of business leaders from Metro Manila.

In a one page statement signed by Datu Haron U. Bandila, chairman, ARMM Business Council and president of Maguindanao Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Dr. Jainal M. Hamad, Mindanao Business Council trustee of Sulu Archipelago they expressed to come up with one major voice for them also to be recognized and heard.

"Metro Manila people may have hidden agenda or other personal interest at the expense of bountiful and potentially progressive Mindanao," the statement further said.

According to Bandila and Hamad, the strong manifesto of unity emerged from the recent dissolution of the Sulu Archipelago region from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) without prior consultation.

"This action by the national board of PCCI to remove Sulu Archipelago region is characteristic of the way how Manila people look and treat us by not recognizing our unique existence and supporting our desire to play a major role within the context of the BIMP-EAGA business development and interaction with our Muslim bothers in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei," it said.

It further said that the provinces of Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-tawi have so much in common and very much unique in their location and culture to justify their association into one business region.

He stressed that the geographical proximity, cultural affinity and historical relationship with the BIMP EAGA participating countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei are invariably big asset that must be further developed and allowed to flourish to benefit not only the people within the area but perhaps serve as our contribution to the growth of the Nation and to the success of the ongoing peace process.

"We would like to make this strong appeal to our benefactors in Metro Manila who are suppose to help us move forward to please leave us alone if your intervention will just lead us to more confusion and division among our members," Bandila and Hamad further said. (PIA XI) [top]

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