DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 Sept) – A year after the signing of a written statement between the Philippines and Indonesia promoting the reestablishment of the Davao City-Manado air connectivity, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) assistant secretary Romeo Montenegro said on Thursday that the air linkage will be revived on September 27.
“Yes, we are working with the Consulate for the program and business meetings of arriving Indonesian delegation,” he said in a text message.
On September 1, 2018, Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Leehiong T. Wee and Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Sinyo Harry Sarundajang signed a written statement to promote the reestablishment of the air route. It was witnessed by Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation Manuel Antonio L. Tamayo at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Makati City.
Both Ambassadors Wee and Sarundajang agreed to promote the revival of the defunct route to increase trade, tourism, and investment between the two countries.
The statement said the “Air Transport Agreement” signed between the Philippines and Indonesia on March 24, 1972, to enhance the mutually beneficial economic relations and people-to-people contact stemming from centuries-old ties of both nations.
A subsequent memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the expansion of air linkages between and among Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines was also signed in 2007 where Davao and Manado had been identified as designated points.
MinDA public relations head Adrian Tamayo said the revival of the Davao-Manado route “further strengthens the economic cooperation between Mindanao and North Sulawesi, Indonesia, spurring more investments and tourism activities as travel is made cheaper.”
He added the revival also signals for an increasing demand for “halal foods and halal restaurants” and presents an opportunity for business and investment.
Representatives from the MinDA met with Indonesian officials, including Vice Consul Ely Handayani of the Indonesian Consulate-Davao, to discuss the progress of the Garuda Airlines’ Davao-Manado maiden flight. The expected passengers for its first flight to Davao are high ranking officials and local government leaders, travel agents, and some businessmen from Manado, North Sulawesi.
The air route has been identified as a priority in the air transport and tourism strategic pillar of Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia and Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), a 25-year-old sub-regional economic cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia designed to spur economic development in the lagging sub-economies.
BIMP-EAGA was founded in 1994 in Davao. Its focus areas include the entire sultanate of Brunei Darussalam; the provinces of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, West Papua and Papua in Indonesia; the states of Sabah and Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan in Malaysia; and Mindanao and the province of Palawan in the Philippines. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)