More talks needed to boost RP, Indon backdoor trade ties

Dominguez joined the Philippine delegation that arrived in Tahuna City for trade talks and to witness the culmination of the three-day joint border patrol exercise between the two neighboring Southeast Asian countries.

He, however, said local governments from both countries should move for less government interference for trade and commerce to flourish in the area.

“We should start looking beyond our borders for the development of our region.  And lesser bureaucracy and red tape would enhance trade and commerce between our two countries,” he said in his address during the formal talks between the Philippine delegation and government and military officials of North Sulawesi province of Indonesia.

The governor said it was high time to put into reality the memorandum of understanding signed between Sarangani province and this city early this year.

It was the second visit of Dominguez to the island this year.

He earlier headed a trade mission from the province in January this year where the local governments of Tahuna and Sarangani signed a memorandum of understanding to boost trade ties between the two neighboring areas.

His counterpart, North Sulawesi Governor S. M. Sarundayang earlier said relations between the two regions of Indonesia and the Philippines should be expanded into sisterhood agreements to give more substance and legal framework to their trade and commerce activities.

“We would like to pursue certain purpose we established as early a 1994,” Sarundajang said. 

The Philippines and Indonesia are part of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) which was created in 1994.

The two countries share territorial borders in the international waters that separate Mindanao and the North Sulawesi province of Indonesia.

Tahuna City is just 35 minutes by plane from General Santos City and eight hours by boat.

The city lies within the rich fishing grounds in Southeast Asia and is a major producer of copra.

It is also a major market for consumer goods for traders in Mindanao.

Joining Dominguez in the Philippine delegation were Mindanao Economic Development Council chair Virgilio Leyretana and General Santos City Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr.

Also in the group were Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Cardozo Luna and Commodore Josefino Solidum of the Philippine Navy.

They were later joined by Philippine Consul to Manado Olive Palala. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews Contributor)