WITH ISLAMIC DEVELOPMENT BANK
the First International Business Summit
In Zamboanga City
STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN NUR MISUARI:
Rahmanir Rahim. Assalamo Alaykom Wa Rahmatullahi Taala Wa Barakatuhu.
Peace be on you and the blessing of the Almighty
God and Good Morning ladies and gentlemen.
of all, it is my pleasure to welcome you in this very
important press conference which I believe will commend
the launching of our working session here in the beautiful
city of Zamboanga. And
from the reading of the names and the organizations you
belong to, I can presume that the national media plus some
international media people are here with us today. And I am very very honored to receive you
and to have access to the man who is the key to the
holding of this business conference.
Dr. Mohammad Ali is an old friend of mine and he is
the head of one of the most powerful banks in the Middle
East not to say of the world.
This is the Islamic Development Bank.
At one time, for your information, I was reading
some media _______ in the Middle East indicating that
even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World
Bank were a little bit suspicious about this bank.
Whether this bank is going to become their rival
because of the idea of collecting a basket of
currencies in the Islamic World, so that the Islamic
World could have a tendered their own.
But that speculation was wrong because the
Islamic World until now
still are connected
with International Monetary System.
Among the biggest subscribers to the World Bank
and the IMF are the Islamic World as you all know,
particularly countries that control more than 60% of the
oil resources of the world.
I would like to inform you that according to the
finding that at least 60% of
resources of the world are sitting underneath the
territories of the Islamic World.
And I think, you know very well that Islamic
World occupies the most strategic part of the globe. Whether you talk of the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Swiss Canal, the Indian Ocean down to
the ________________ Sea, the ___________
Strait of Malacca, the _____________ Strait of
Balabac, Celebes Sea and what have you.
All these are basically under the
_______________, political and economic _________ of the
Islamic World. And
this is not the _____________ of the Central Asian
the demise of the World System of Soviet Union, seven
(7) Independent Islamic countries emerged from
ever knew that the Islamic World is such a wide expanse
in the world. And
according to the estimate, the Islamic World constitute
between 1.3 to 1.5 billion out of the total population
of the world. And ______, we control huge resources. Everywhere there is a Muslim land, you can be sure there is
always either natural gas or oil.
Here in Philippines, you know very well, only in
Muslim land that we have this gas.
We have found, I was with former President Ramos
in that island in Palawan where he signed an agreement
for 5 billion dollars investment to tap our gas
resources. 2.5 trillion cubic feet to be delivered 300 kilometers away
to as far as Bataan running through Batangas.
And the financier of the pipeline, 560 M dollars
comes from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
And Saudi Arabia is very much represented here in
this conference. You
see, the world cannot go without us, without the Islamic
World. We are an integral part of humanity.
And even Western Civilization owed a great deal
to us. Western Science owed a great deal to us.
Western Philosophy owed a great deal to us.
Try to learn more about the World history and you
will find that without Muslims and Islam, this world
cannot go along. So,
now, we have here His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Mohammad Ali,
the President of Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
He came here in a big entourage of potential
investors in Mindanao, particularly in the areas of the
DR. AHMED MOHAMMED ALI
Rahmanir Rahim. I just would like to ask His Excellency Professor Nur Misuari
to express our thanks and appreciation to all of you, for
your interest in this conference.
As you know, this conference is being coordinated
by the Government of the Philippines and the Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the Islamic
Development Bank (IDB).
The main purpose of this conference is to give
opportunity to the businessmen from member countries of
the IDB to be acquainted with the potentialities of this
to try to understand more about the possibilities of
investment, also to be ___________ with the counterparts
of businessmen and businesswomen in Mindanao in order to
see how could they cooperate together in having eventually
The IDB and its program to support the peace
agreement and the development in Mindanao launched a
program which included the allocation of 15 M dollars as a
grant to support the studies as well as some social
one (1) Million also was allocated to provide
technical assistance for training human resource
development and the bank is confident that this business
opportunity of businessmen from member countries of IDB
with their counterparts here in Mindanao, they will able
to generate useful projects which will share the
development of Mindanao as well as to have __________ to
all which will __________ the mutual interest of both
is the main purpose of this conference and we are very
grateful to the Government of the Philippines and to the
Local Government here and to the Autonomous Region in
Muslim Mindanao as well as to the Mayor and administration
of this city for holding this conference in this beautiful
city. And we
look forward for constructive and fruitful working
________ during this 2-day conference.
Thank you very much.
ALI, YOU MENTIONED YOU HAVE A 16 M DOLLAR GRANT. WHAT
PROJECT DOES THE BANK HAVE IN MIND FOR MINDANAO?
course, maybe you need a lot of study for the projects.
Some of this amount will be allocated for feasibility
to finance a number of small projects like roads,
hospitals, schools. ______________
has talked to the IDB.
So I expect some of this money will be spent for
schools, small roads, feasibility studies and also,
1Million will be spent for technical assistance training
for human resource development and so forth.
to Governor Misuari:
WE ARE VERY GLAD THAT THESE PERSONS COMING IN TO
MINDANAO ESPECIALLY TO THE ARMM REGION AND ALSO TO
ZAMBOANGA WHICH IS NOW HOSTING THE AFFAIR.
BUT DONíT YOU THINK THE UNSTABLE PEACE AND ORDER
CONDITION WILL DRIVE AWAY THESE INVESTORS?
MAY I KNOW IF YOU HAVE ALREADY BRIEFED THESE
POSSIBLE INVESTORS ON THE PRESENT UNSTABLE PEACE AND ORDER
IN OUR REGION?
I think, when you speak of instability, you are speaking
in terms of those isolated areas
where there is still what we call crisis situation.
For instance, in the camps of our brothers in the
they are peaceful or not, itís almost immaterial. The government and the business people donít go to those
places anyway. And
when you speak of the kidnappings for instance, I was just
discussing with Secretary Zamora last night about the
number of kidnappings here in Mindanao.
And we compare Mindanao with Binondo alone, a small
space in Metro Manila.
Everyday there is kidnapping, but the problem is,
they highlight the kidnapping here.
They put too much emphasis on kidnapping here.
For instance, here in this city, how many
kidnappings have taken place so far?
Only one this past several months.
And this is an inside work according to the latest
speculation now. We
are zeroing on that.
And the three (3) have been released through our
the old lady and her maid was supposed to be released
peacefully, but because of misunderstanding between other
groups trying to get her released and our team, until now,
they are still hiding in some places. But we are re-establishing our contacts.
In Manila, in newspapers, the media is ___________
Even inside big malls, kidnapping small child is
taking place because of poverty,
because of this economic difficulties we are
the island of Jolo, for more than 2 years, there was no
kidnapping at all since I signed the agreement.
The kidnapping took place in Sitangkai, very close
to Sabah. Unfortunately,
because they will be in pursuit and did not know where to
go, so, they brought it to the mountains of Jolo.
But they are not doing any like this, all about
is no instability between us and the government.
There is total and complete peace.
I think you can _________ to that.
You cannot cite one instance where Armed Forces of
the Government and Armed Forces of the MNLF have ever
fought since I signed the peace agreement.
But the MILF, that is yes, thatís why they are
still negotiating because
they are outside the _____ of the peace agreement.
For instance, go to Palawan.
You can compare Palawan with the most peaceful
parts of the globe.
It is even much peaceful than New York.
You go to Davao City, to General Santos City, to
Cotabato City. Soon
after I signed the peace agreement, some people tried to
create disturbances there.
But as soon as I entered the camps of Commander
Mayangkang and Commander Black Moro, what happened? Has
there been any kidnapping taken place in this place? No
now that the city is under the control of our MNLF Mayor.
The Secretary-General of the MNLF Central Committee is the
new mayor now of Cotabato City.
Look, in those places, we are only victimized by
people from outside, manipulating.
But I can tell
you, just a while ago, I was talking to one of the biggest
investors from Japan
and a few days ago, I was in the mountains of Jolo
with six (6) gentlemen coming from Japan.
And also, the other day, I accompanied 6 gentlemen
from Japan and Iím expecting big number of people from Korea.
I am visiting Beijing to arrange for the financing
of the railroad. You
see, we are
only trying to exaggerate this but people outside donít.
They are coming in engrossed. But the old woman was
taken from her own house
and there are a lot of speculations going on now.
The PNP officers will tell you eventually how this
kidnapping was being done.
YOU LIKE TO SAY THAT IF THESE INVESTORS FROM IDB
DELEGATION WILL NOW BE IN PLACE IN THE REGION, WEíLL
HAVE A VERY STABLE PEACE AND ORDER IN THE REGION AND
KIDNAPPING WILL NOW BE NO LONGER ÖÖÖ.?
Kidnapping basically is an offshoot of poverty and
you know why - - we are rich.
I think you can compare.
This is one of the richest parts of the globe,
Mindanao and the islands.
I have gone places in Africa, in Europe, in all
always open my eyes, made comparison with the potential of
our homeland. But
why is it we are that poor?
Because we have been neglected and abandoned.
And all the wealth of Mindanao has been brought to
Manila. These high buildings in Metro Manila would not be possible
without our resources?
What happened to our land forest? What happened to
our mineral resources?
What happened to our fish and to everything?
Even our carrageen is exploited by
We are not processing our own carrageen here.
We are just selling the raw materials to be
processed in Cebu. Before
they started with one, there are now six processing plants
in Cebu. Where
will they get their raw materials?
What about Luzon and Visayas?
If you know the figure, more than 70% of the raw
materials are coming from Mindanao.
Without the raw materials from Mindanao, all those
be dead. You
see, thatís why they are now transferring here.
But the problem here is this
we donít seem to understand that among the most
prosperous countries, this kidnapping is not taking place.
Go for instance to Saudi Arabia, go to the
Emirates, to Kuwait, to Libya, to Morocco, to Oman, even
to poor countries like Islamic countries such as,
their kidnapping taking place there?
Only here because of the consequences of the war.
And they are thinking that this is the part
of their defiance of the law and the government
because they did not want to join me. When I signed the peace agreement, they said Ďnoí,
brother Nur made mistake.
In fact, that was the arguement posed to me by
brother Mayangkang and Black Moro.
I said, why are you continuing to defy the law and
the government when as a matter of fact, I have already signed the peace agreement.
They said, ďBrother Nur, you know, we donít
trust the government.
They betrayed us during the time of Marcos and
during the time of Corazon Aquino.
And we think that this government under Fidel V.
Ramos will also betray usĒ.
I said, you are wrong.
Let us give peace a maximum chance.
You see, without Nur Misuari
and the MNLF,
you from the media, do you think we can have peace
in the Philippines? Do
you think the NPA would have been as weak as they are now,
without their accommodation here?
The strength of the NDF and the NPA were based on
our struggle here. Two-thirds of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines were deployed here.
So, they were able to operate.
Without the MNLF now fighting, is there fighting in
Luzon and in the Visayas? Nothing because they cannot
fight anymore. Without
us absorbing the front of the ________ of the Armed
of the Armed Forces, sometimes even more were deployed
why you have peace in Luzon and Visayas because as an
offshoot of the peace here.
In fact, without the MNLF, if the MNLF will join
hands with the MILF and all these other groups, what do
you think will happen?
How many million Christian families will have to
abandon their homes here like before, remember?
How many fled to Siquijor, to Iloilo? Tens of
thousands of families left Mindanao.
Thatís why Iím doing this, inviting
business investors so that our people will be
satisfied. They will not _____ the government anymore even
if the government has not done much of _______ businesses.
With these businesses, we can address the problem
of poverty here in Mindanao.
This is the strategy here.
Let the government _______ on their commitment. No
handle the peace agreement ourselves by asking people like
His Excellency and our brothers from the Islamic World to
come and bring their money.
They have money in Europe, London, France, Germany,
America and in all places.
They have hundreds of billions of dollars deposited
in banks. If
we can attract them here,
peso will be strengthened. Now, under my
administration alone, how much money have we attracted
do you know the 40,000 hectares of banana plantation we
are already exporting to Saudi Arabia?
And His Excellency was telling us last night that
the second biggest producer of food in the Middle East
wants to plant in Mindanao
because they know after a laboratory examination,
Mindanao soil is the best soil for banana in the world?
you know that we are now about to plant sugar
in over 25,000 hectares of land?
you know that I was the one who signed the MOA in
is an investment of 263 Million dollars.
From Switzerland, ask my detractors how much money
they have brought in to Mindanao.
And now, we are about to commence
by 1999 the construction of 200 kilometers of one
of the finest railroads in the world.
No money coming from us.
No cash from us, all coming from outside.
And many projects are coming.
The Agus is about to be started.
We are bringing in at least 350 Million American
dollars for investment, 263 Million for the sugar central.
How many hundred millions of dollars for the
bananas? This 350 Million at least for the Agus III and
the railroad and all that.
You see, ask my detractors.
How many of them ________ money to Mindanao.
I am building a 10-story building there.
People are wagging their tongues.
I go around the world asking/looking for money to
build something beautiful for Mindanao people.
That will house our dream town.
That will house DOTís one-stop shop
granted by the Philippine government to me.
That will house this business people, the
chamber of commerce. I am going to offer them places
will house many many offices there.
That is going to be the _______ there.
I got money from outside.
I am unlike other people who get money from
they build tall buildings in Luzon, in Metro Manila and
all those places. That is the difference between those people and me. I bring
businessmen and businesswomen here.
And this is not for me or for the Muslims alone.
This is for the Muslims, for the Christians and for
the Highlanders. So,
more Christian brothers are invited to come and do much
activities with them.
If they can tie -up with each other, so the
Christians can engage with our Muslim brothers in
partnership with them.
And they will bring the money from the outside
world. And Iím
sure this partnership will not mean bringing
money here ___________ by Saudi Arabia.
It is the Saudis who will invest here.
Do you like it or not?
Dr. AHMAD MOHAMMAD ALI) IS PEACE AND ORDER PROBLEM IN
MINDANAO NOT A PROBLEM TO YOUR GROUP COMING TO INVEST HERE
course, the people read the media.
___________________ so people want to come many
times and see for themselves.
So, Iím sure, when they come here and weigh the
situation and make their judgment.
But the explanation given by Brother Misuari, Iím
sure, it will be considered by the people here and Iím
sure, they will appreciate what he said.
But definitely, with regards to the international media, of course, there
will be ________________.
They want to come here and to get explanation to be
sure that their investment will be safe.
Because this is natural for
the investors to be sure of the security of their
WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIZED AREAS IN SOUTHERN MINDANAO THAT
IDB PLANS TO DEVELOP MORE?
YOU PLANNING TO FORM TIES WITH CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS
ORGANIZATIONS OR COMMUNITIES WHO ARE ALSO HAVING THEIR
INVESTMENTS HERE IN SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES?
ABOUT THE ISLAMIC INVESTMENT.
IS THAT FOR EXPANSION OF ISLAMIC CORPORATIONS OR
ARE YOU GIVING A CHANCE FOR THE MINDANAOANS TO HAVE THIS
DIRECT AND FREE HAND IN MANAGING THESE INVESTMENTS?
priority of the Islamic Development Bank is education.
Thatís why, one time, the IDB has been involved
in providing some assistance in the area of education in
Mindanao as well as scholarship program
for students in Philippines.
About 271 students are benefited from the
scholarship program of IDB which started around 10 years
is the human resource development especially education
so far as IDB is concern.
But so far as the priority
for the businessmen, of course, itís up to them
because the ________ of this conference is to bring the
businessmen from IDB member countries to their
counterparts here. And
they themselves make the priority.
IDB of course, is in the position to make
priorities for the investors.
They see for themselves and make their own
regards to the investment, Iím sure, the investors who
came here want to do a good business.
So, Iím sure, if they find good partners, whether
they are Christians or Muslims, they will do business with
them because they are doing businesses all over the
are having business in Europe, in United States, they are
not confining their investments or partnership with only
are doing business all over the world.
So, Iím sure, what are they looking for is for
some good projects
and good partners, an honest partner. When they find what they want,
they are confident they will work with anybody who will give them the best opportunity and provide them with
more sound proposals.
I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT ARE THE INVESTMENT INCENTIVES
YOU ARE OFFERING TO THESE PROSPECT INVESTORS?
you know, we are basically ______________ by the ground
rules set up by the government.
The government has been engaged in an effort to
attract businesses from all over the world.
And not only that, they have been exerting efforts
to convince investors to stay put because of the crisis
that has affected the country on several occasions.
Some of the business groups in Manila have been
transferring while new ones were coming in and the
government has been making incentives.
As a matter of fact,
I understand that
they are now thinking about relaxing the rules and the
ownership of lands for something of that sort.
Because until now, foreign investors cannot own any
piece of land in the Philippines unlike for instance in
the commonwealth countries where they can own. But I understand, the administration of President Estrada is
trying now trying to study the wisdom of relaxing some of
the stringent regulations and the utilization of the land
by foreign investors.
This is the important thing.
And about the taxation or any, I think all the
agreement between us and the government is like this.
In my capacity as Governor of ARMM and as Chairman
of SPCPD, I can invite any kind of businesses, of course,
legal businesses to Mindanao especially to my area of
on one condition when it involves bank guarantee.
This was the reason why I found difficulty in
getting this sugar central established during the previous
administration because they were demanding for bank
the administration was unwilling to do that.
But recently, after the meeting with Sec. Robert
Aventajado, the flagship Secretary of President Estrada,
we went to Switzerland prompted by the information that I
gave to him because the investors from Switzerland were
telling me, ďWe are ready. You can inspect us if you
like. We have
packaged the financial parts of the deal.
So, I told him _____________________ to Switzerland
and when we returned, he requested for
a meeting with me.
went to visit him at Pacific ______________ and I asked
him this question: ďWhat was your finding?Ē
He said, ďAll systems go.
We are now ready.Ē
I said, ďHow
did you manage? How
can we overcome this very difficult situation they are
demanding for. Are
we ready to give them bank guarantee.Ē
He said, ďNo, we are introducing a formula. A
60-40 formula. 60%
bank guarantee to be shouldered by the government and 40%
in the form of ________________ to be shouldered by the
according to one business group from Korea, they said, ďWhy
donít we do this? 60%
from the national government and the 40% will be
guaranteed by the chairman.Ē
I said, I cannot guarantee.
They said, what
we need is only your signature.
That will mean 40% of the bank guarantee.
Just like that.
That means they
will make me the collateral for this. But anyway, Iím ready.
We can take risk.
If you are not a risk taker, you have no business
in entering businesses. Business always involves some risks. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN, MAY WE KNOW THE POSITION OF THE MNLF
VIS-A-VIS THE MILF.
WILL THE MNLF
THEY GO INTO A
THEY GO HAND IN HAND WITH THE MNLF IN ATTAINING ULTIMATE
THEIR OBJECTIVE? IS THE MNLF OPEN?
thatís a very good question because I think, you are
aware of my declaration time and again that it is our wish
that the government will succeed in their peace talks with
the MILF brothers. Because
that is necessary if we are to expand the dimension of
peace in Mindanao. I
think that is very clear among the media people.
Now, are we willing to accommodate them?
Why not, in the higher interest of Mindanao and its
people and of peace.
Why not. Let
us be flexible if we can tolerate.
ISLAM is a very tolerant religion.
I believe it is the most tolerant religion in the
world. I have
challenged people to tell me whether they have anything
that can approximate the verses from the Holy Qurían.
The Holy Qurían says, ďYour religion is yours. Let there be no compulsion in religion.Ē
And when we speak of religion, we donít mean
merely praying to God, staying in the mosque. No. Religion to us embraces the totality of human existence.
That is the essential characteristic of Islam.
LA IQRA-O BIDDIIN. Let
there be no compulsion in religion.
Is there any religion in the world that can
___________ this. We
are very tolerant. And
in fact, we are the most successful in bridging this
racial problem. Have
you ever found any racial discrimination in the Islamic
We are the one teaching the world how to
most important to ALLAH is _________ because we are confident that we belong to a true
religion, to a powerful civilization.
We can co-exist.
But some people are afraid because they are
possibly standing on shaky grounds.
But Misuari can exist with anyone.
Among my bestfriends, one of my deputies that I
recommended to the President is Reverend Cervesa. The
Speaker of the Consultative Assembly that I recommended to
the President for approval is Father Mercado, the
President of Catholic University in Cotabato City.
The indigenous people, their representative was
with me in Manila last night at the Presidential table
along with His Excellency.
I can co-exist with them.
As a matter of fact, these indigenous people from 5
or 6 regions in Mindanao have declared me as their supreme
Datu, to show
that they can accept me and I can also accept them.
There is a mutuality here of acceptance.
We are very tolerant.
As a matter of fact, we cannot understand
why some people are so intolerant and so
inflexible. Thank you.
Sulu (Nashra) : ADDRESSED
TO CHAIRMAN MISUARI.
WHAT IS YOUR HONEST OPINION ABOUT THE ISSUE
OF PLEBISCITE FOR THE EXPANSION OF THE AUTONOMOUS
REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO?
WILL THIS STILL PUSH THROUGH ACCORDING
TO THE TIME TABLE STIPULATED IN THE PEACE
IS THE STAND OF THE MNLF REGARDING THIS ISSUE?
a very good question.
First of all, the timetable is all over now.
According to the stipulation, we were supposed to
have referendum in October this year.
That referendum was not held because of the failure
of the Philippine Government, our counterpart in the peace
agreement to amend the Organic Act.
Before a referendum could be held, it is important
that there be a new Organic Act.
That new Organic Act has not been done by the Congress. So, the Congress now has failed.
And since the referendum
was the result of tripartite negotiation, MNLF on
one the hand and the government on the other
with the OIC represented by
the Ministerial Committee negotiating on the terms
of the referendum, now, I am telling the Philippine
Government, my counterpart, in fact, I was sitting side by
side with His
Excellency Ambassador Yan, who was my counterpart in the
peace talks, I said, one, there is a need
for us to come together and re-negotiate the
timetable or the cut-off period for the referendum. Number
two, I think you are aware of the fact that by virtue of
commitment of His Excellency President Estrada during the
campaign period, commitment to our Mindanao covenant, to
our Mindanao Agenda, they are now preparing the
organization of a
committee or a commission of 25.
To pinpoint fundamental issues in the present
constitution in preparation for the holding of a
Now, among the issues to be tackled will be,
whether or not, to go regional, with respect to our
we demanded that it must be regionalized.
the candidate, said, I will
definitely do that.
And in our meeting with His Excellency President
Estrada, our last visitation with him in Cagayan de Oro
City and General Santos City, he was very emphatic in
saying, ďIím going to call a Constitutional Convention
and that, I am definite in my determination to regionalize
the Senate.Ē The
only problem we want to raise will be, ďAre we going to
have one Vice-President for Mindanao and how many senators
must come from us?Ē I have demanded for 24 senators.
And I said, we
have 24 here, and then, we will allow them to have 20 in
Visayas and 28 in Luzon.
But the formula of the President
is, with respect to the 24 senators now we have, he
said, we will give 8 to Mindanao, 8 to Visayas and 8 to
Luzon. And if
you decide to increase by 2 or by 3, therefore, we get
1/3, they get 1/3 (Luzon) and they get 1/3 (Visayas).
And you might to ask why, and Iíd like to tell
you. I want
72 senators for the country because when we had these 24
senators, in the beginning we had only 17 to 18 million
population and now, we have 75 million. Why? Number two,
Spain has 36 million population and they have 150
senators. Australia has 18 million population and they have 75
has 10 million population and they have 75 senators.
In United States of America,
every state has 2 senators.
You multiply by 50 or 51, they have that much.
Now, we have 75 million population, therefore, we are entitled to at least 72. 24 in Mindanao, 24 in Luzon
and 24 in Visayas. Thank
CHAIRMAN MISUARIíS CLOSING STATEMENT
I would like to salute you for the very interesting
questions you raised. I hope you understand if I answer your questions the I
do, it is because I am very sincere and I have ever
respect for you. You
can count me as one of those who really respect you.
You just donít know how much I respect the media
because, you know, I used to write myself.
I used to edit before I went underground our small
magazine where I placed some of the important ideas that
guided us in our struggle.
Also, in the Philippine collegian, I am very much
familiar with the importance of the freedom of the press.
You are very important.
So, donít allow anyone to distort you.
And if you donít mind, donít allow anyone to
corrupt you because
that will be harmful to our society, to the future of the
country. You must have a very very honorable media. That
way, you can
contribute towards the larger goal of our country and our