MANILA – The Philippines is eyeing to open more sea links with its neighbors under the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) mainly for trade, tourism and investments, officials said.
In a news briefing Thursday on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit being hosted by the Philippines, Transportation Secretary Arturo Tugade and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said there is keen interest by neighbor states on developments in the Philippines.
Tugade announced the inauguration of the link between Davao and Bitong in Indonesia on April 30. This will pave the way for inbound vessels to dock on the ports of the two countries, he said.
He said talks have also started with Malaysian officials for a similar link between Palawan and Malaysia.
“The Palawan-Malaysia route is also being discussed. . . . There’s a technical group studying the connection,” he said.
“Once we agreed on the volume of cargo and the number of people that can be moved, then we will have a similar roll on-roll off mechanism like the Davao-Bitong link,” Tugade added.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he would pitch for sub-regional cooperation among Southeast Asian nations to help boost local economies.