Among the governors attending the forum are Miguel Dominguez of Sarangani, Antonio Cerilles of Zamboanga del Sur and Adolph Edward Plaza of Agusan del Sur and mayors Fernando Miguel of Koronadal, Arsenio Latasa of Digos, Muslimin Sema of Cotabato, and Enrique Yap, Jr. of Glan in Sarangani, Romeo Montenegro, chief of the Communication and Media Affairs Division of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) told MindaNews.
Within the EAGA member-areas of Brunei, East Indonesia, East Malaysia and Mindanao and Palawan in the Philippines, efforts have been undertaken at the local level to promote cooperation between the areas near each other.
For instance, a new shipping link between Glan in Sarangani and Bitung in North Sulawesi was launched last month and yet another shipping link between Brooke’s Point in Palawan and Kudat in Sabah, was supposed to have been launched November 8 with a hundred-person delegation from Palawan headed by Palawan Governor Mario Joel Reyes but some technical problems cropped up, forcing the postponement of the first voyage.
The trip would have taken six hours from Brooke’s Point. Kudat to Kota Kinabalu is an estimated two-hour travel by land.
Because of the postponement of the first voyage, only about a dozen officials from Palawan will be attending the forum here.
Senior officials from the EAGA’s Brunei, East Indonesia, East Malaysia and Mindanao and Palawan in the Philippines are also meeting prior to the meeting of EAGA ministers on November 10, results of which will be presented to the 3rd EAGA Leaders Summit in Cebu next month.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, until recently the concurrent head of MEDCo, remains the Philippines’ signing minister in the EAGA ministers’ meet. Dureza will be flying to Kota Kinabalu from Washington, DC, where he is attending a World Bank meeting on the Mindanao Trust Fund.
The governors’ forum “aims to engage provincial and state level officials across the sub-region with discussions on increasing local government participation in EAGA activities by adopting a common strategic action plan at the provincial, state and EAGA levels to strengthen cooperation in the growth area.”