Infra lack preventing Mindanao’s dev’t as BIMP-EAGA transport hub

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 June) – The lack of infrastructure investments and deflated transport and logistics system in Mindanao is holding back the island from becoming one of the strategic transport hubs of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines – East Asean Growth Areas (BIMP-EAGA), a top government official said.

“This is mainly why we are pushing through the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan to interconnect Mindanao through state-of-the-art infrastructure,” Sec.
Luwalhati Antonino, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairperson, said in a statement.

She noted that Mindanao, one of the Philippines-EAGA focus areas, has a great potential to become a transport hub in the sub-region.

The Mindanao 2020 is 20-year peace and development framework for the island from 2011 to 2030 initiated by MinDa.

Meanwhile, the BIMP-EAGA Transport, Infrastructure, and ICT Development Cluster meeting will be held from June 21 to 23, 2011 in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

Key transport industry players in the BIMP-EAGA are poised for greater mobility of trade, tourism and investment across the sub-region as they are set to discuss significant updates and improvements on cross-border air, land and sea transport connectivity, the MinDA statement said.

The meeting will look into the status of the various priority projects geared towards enhancing connectivity in the sub-region, including the establishment of new priority air routes and revival of suspended air and sea transport linkages.

Antonino said enhancing transport connectivity and infrastructure investments are crucial initiatives that support Eaga’s aim of becoming the regional food basket of the Asean.

“Strategic ports and stations in the Eaga sub-region will facilitate faster transfer of goods and services, reduce logistic cost, and promote productivity and competency,” the MinDa chair added.

The cluster will also review the proposed provision of incentives to support transport infrastructure and transport services, various transportation studies as well as pending agreements such as the Memoranda of Understanding on Non-convention Sized Ships, Transit and Inter-state Transport, and on the expansion of air linkages.

To be held simultaneously with the cluster meeting is the BIMP-EAGA CEO Forum on Information and Communications Technology that will gather key private sector players in the sub-region’s telecommunications and information technology sector to discuss and agree on major ICT projects.

Among the priority ICT projects to be discussed are the $15O-million alternate submarine cable link project dubbed the BIMP-EAGA Rink, an alternative network routing through either submarine cable or satellite.

The proposed BIMP-EAGA Rink will cover the entire Mindanao, Sandakan and Tawau in Sabah and Tarakan via the terrestrial Kalimantan. Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua in Indonesia are also eyed as potential international gateways of the project. (Rico Biliran/MindaNews)