Philippines to launch ferry service from Davao , General Santos to Indonesia
The Philippines hopes to launch the roll-on, roll-off ferry service that will connect the cities of Davao and General Santos in Mindanao to Bitung in Indonesia in April 2017, which could be replicated in other Southeast Asian countries, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said on Thursday.
Tugade has assumed chairmanship of the 22nd ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting, which opened at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City , from Malaysia 's Transport Minister Dato Sri Liow Tiong Lai.
In his speech, Tugade said during the 32nd ASEAN Maritime Transport Working Group Meeting held in October, the ASEAN RORO Mechanism, particularly the Davao-General Santos-Bitung route, was discussed.
"Hopefully the experience that will be born in the relationship between the Philippines and Indonesia can be replicated in all our inter-ASEAN relationship and inter-ASEAN activities," Tugade said.
"The contents of the draft memorandum of understanding between the Philippines and Indonesia and the proposed maiden voyage, Davao , General Santos and Bitung route hopefully shall be formalized and finalized by April 2017," Tugade added.
He expressed hope the initiative would continue, noting that a well-developed port infrastructure in the region broadens the potentials for trade and tourism.
In the two-day ATM meeting, Tugade said the ASEAN ministers would also make important decisions such as adopting key performance indicators to monitor the implementation of the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan 2016-2025.
He added the ASEAN ministers must ensure various air services agreements are implemented since liberalizing aviation policies would make it easier for the Southeast Asian countries to do business.
Relaxing restrictions and making airfares more competitive will boost tourism across the region, he added.
"The next course of actions to conclude and sign the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Cross Border Transport of Passengers by Road Vehicles is also a critical undertaking as this will bring nations and our people closer, as well as enhance trade and investments," Tugade said.
Japan , China and South Korea , which are dialogue partners of ASEAN transport ministers are also participating.
The ASEAN members are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia , Indonesia , Lao PDR, Malaysia , Mynamar , Philippines , Singapore , Thailand and Vietnam .
The Philippines will host next year's ASEAN Summit, coinciding the 50th founding anniversary of the regional bloc. Celerina Monte/DMS