ARMM ports, airports among priority BIMP-EAGA projects
COTABATO CITY - Select ARMM ports and airports have been included for the first time in the project list of the Philippines for the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines - East ASEAN Growth Area) Vision 2025 (BEV 2025).
Mindanao Development Authority (MINDA) as head of the Secretariat of the Philippine contingent to the BIMP-EAGA planning meeting on January 31 to February 3 in Jakarta, Indonesia invited ARMM to participate in the meeting.
ARMM’S participation took place after a long hiatus from the BIMP-EAGA scene.
This is due to the efforts of MINDA chair, Secretary Abul Khayr Alonto, who made sure that ARMM is part of the Duterte administration’s renewed efforts to push the BIMP-EAGA agenda for economic development.
Alonto said that the ARMM is in fact the doorstep to BIMP-EAGA and Mindanao is the front door to BIMP-EAGA.
Lawyer Ishak Mastura, Chairman of the Regional Board of Investments, who led the ARMM delegation in Jakarta as head of the economic growth and linkage regional cabinet cluster, announced that the Port of Polloc in Parang town in Maguindanao province, the Port of Bongao in Tawi-tawi and the airport of Sanga-sanga in Bongao have been included in the priority list of transport facilities due for improvement, upgrade and development, as part of the Philippines commitment to its BIMPEAGA partner countries.
“The ports and airports of the ARMM are the frontline ports for BIMPEAGA initiatives of the Philippines, particularly those in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi. Since time immemorial the people of the ARMM, particularly in the Sulu archipelago have been doing traditional barter trade with Sabah, other parts of Malaysia and Indonesia, which are now under the BIMPEAGA”, Mastura said.
“In fact, the traditional barter trade is the origin of the cross-border trade in the BIMP-EAGA which has survived into the 21st century in the form of conventional trading and transshipment”, he added.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said it is about time due recognition is given to the role of the pre-existing cross-border trade of ARMM in the BIMP-EAGA.
Hataman said: “We are grateful to President Duterte and MINDA Secretary Alonto for reviving the BIMP-EAGA as a pillar of their economic development strategy for Mindanao since ARMM is a natural fit for BIMPEAGA.”