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BIMP-EAGA prioritizes Ro-Ro services from Zamboanga to Sandakan

By MAR T. SUPNAD
Manila Bulletin
August 25, 2009, 2:55pm

The leaders of the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) have agreed to develop the Roll-on, Roll-off (Ro-Ro) facilities between Zamboanga Peninsula and Sandakan, Malaysia, a top government official revealed Tuesday .

Congressman Antonio F. Lagdameo, Jr., (2nd district, Davao del Norte) and chairman for EAGA for Mindanao, said that this was discussed and agreed upon by the leaders of the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia Philippines (BIMP-EAGA) during a summit in Thailand where four heads of States of the said countries have adopted President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s move to establish Ro-Ro transport system within EAGA.

The said Ro-Ro system will also service between Glan-Tahuna connection, Zamboanga and Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, and Bongao-Sandakan connection port development.

Lagdameo said this was part of the seven short-listed infrastructure projects for development that are being prioritized by the president as part of her pump-priming projects in the South.

“We are fast-tracking the development in the said area as instructed by the President since nothing happened for the last 15 years of existence of EAGA,” pointed out Lagdameo who was just elected recently to head EAGA-Mindanao being a potential administrator and native of Mindanao.

He said that the Asian Development Bank had agreed to fund the said project feasibility study in order to fast-track it which is estimated to be costing about $3.7 million.

According to the Mindanao solon, this project was emanated from the instruction of four heads of states of BIMP-EAGA during the leaders’ summit in Singapore last year, saying the project is now moving on with a lot of positive developments due to the active participation of its leaders.

Included in the program was a fishing consortium where the participation of private sectors are encouraged in the operationalization of the consortium with a coordinating body to oversee and monitor its progress.

Based on the BIMP-EAGA report, the areas of cooperation initially identified includes the area as follows: tuna production of Indonesia; high value aquaculture of Malaysia; seaweeds of the Philippines; and small pelagic fishes of Brunei Darussalam. Details of structures and business arrangement will be discussed during the coming workshop in Manado next month, the report added.