MINDANAO needs transport and telecommunications infrastructure to enable trade with countries participating in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) partnership, a development official for the region said.
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Assistant Secretary Romeo M. Montenegro made the remarks Tuesday during a hearing at the House of Representatives, noting that improved connectivity will strengthen Mindanao’s position within BIMP-EAGA.
He was speaking before a Special Committee hearing on the East ASEAN Growth Area.
“We have yet to establish direct flights in focus areas,” he said, noting that “roads, airports, and seaports” are needed to leverage opportunities within BIMP-EAGA.
Plans to add more direct flight and shipping routes from Mindanao had been scheduled last year, disrupted by the pandemic.
“All of these have been sidetracked by the realities we currently face but definitely many of our traders and their counterparts from the three other countries view BIMP-EAGA to be very important,” he said.
He specifically requested that Congress pass a resolution calling for the establishment of more transport and telecommunications links between Taganak Island, Tawi-Tawi, and Malaysia.
Some $21 billion worth of BIMP-EAGA projects are in the pipeline to 2025, aimed at improving connectivity between the partner states. — Gillian M. Cortez