MANILA-- Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo will launch on April 28 the ASEAN Roll on/roll off (Ro-Ro) Project, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday said.
New economic and trade opportunities are in sight with the opening of the Davao- General Santos - Bitung (D-G-B) Shipping Service which is one of the target priorities for the Philippines' Chairmanship of the ASEAN in 2017.
The Ro-Ro project is expected to spur not only the economic development of Mindanao and increase the per capita income of the Philippine coastal communities but also of the outlying islands including the main Sulawesi Island, particularly North Sulawesi.
The Philippine delegation of the inter-agency Task Force for the Operationalization of the ASEAN Ro-Ro and their Indonesian counterparts recently convened in Manado, Indonesia to discuss the project.
Specifically, both sides talked about the updates on the Philippines' and Indonesia's port infrastructure readiness; the policy and institutional framework and the arrangements that are needed to realize the route; the identification of the different types and volumes of tradable cargo through the route; the lifting of trade restrictions on toys, medicines, and shoes at Bitum Port; the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Philippines and Indonesia; and other preparations for the maiden voyage of the DGB route on April 2017.
The Philippine delegation met with relevant Indonesian authorities including the private/ business sector to discuss the details on the launch of ASEAN Ro-Ro. The Philippine delegation also inspected the port facilities in Bitung.
Assistant Secretary Fernando Juan Perez of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) led the Philippine delegration composed of Philippine Ambassador to Jakarta Maria Lumen Isleta, some officials from the DoTr, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Agriculture (DA), MARINA, Philippine Ports Authority, Office for Transportation Security, Bureau of Customs (BoC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Asian Marine, and Bureau of Plant and Industry.
The Indonesian delegation showed interest in pushing through with the operationalization of the Ro-Ro by sending representatives from agencies relevant to the Ro-Ro Project.
Among those who represented the Indonesian delegation are the officials from the Office of Customs, Quarantine Center of Agriculture, Quality Control and Fish Production, Health Center of Port, Immigration Office Food and Beverage Certification, Port Authority, PELINDO IV, Board of Development Planning of North Sulawesi, Transportation Agency, Agriculture, Marine and Fisheries, Agency of Plantation, Agency of Investment, Bureau of Economy, BIMP-EAGA Executive Secretary, Agency of Trade, Chairmen of Commerce, APINDO, and Small- Medium Enterprise of North Sulawesi, and 42 major export/import and Small-Medium Enterprises in Bitung and Manado. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency