BIMP-Eaga execs convene in Davao for 3-day strategic planning

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Monday, February 10, 2014


SOME 200 technical officials and private sector representatives from the Brunei Darusssalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eafa) will convene at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao starting Tuesday until Thursday for the annual BIMP-Eaga Strategic Planning Meeting.

"The annual meeting aims to assess and study the priority projects under the BIMP-Eaga blueprint or roadmap. Most of these projects are aligned with the implementation of the Asean Economic Community in 2015," Romeo Montenegro, director of investment promotions and public affairs of the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda), said in Monday's edition of Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao Annex.

He said they will work on the details in some of the projects to ensure projects they have identified for BIMP-Eaga will properly be implemented.

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Montenegro said they will be focusing on the four pillars they are pursuing for the region: agribusiness, connectivity, tourism, and the environment.

For agriculture, they aim to make BIMP-Eaga as the food basket of Asean. Part of this thrust is to promote massive production of hybrid rice and corn seeds.

In a briefer, the Department of Agriculture has identified 30,000 hectares of land in Mindanao and Palawan for the production of these hybrid crops.

In a statement, Minda chair Luwalhati Antonio said that a one-hectare hybrid rice farm can yield at least 10 tons of rice for every planting season.

She also said that development program for food and agribusiness corridor is being developed to propel the sub-region's growing agribusiness industries.

Montenegro said connectivity is also critical once the Asean integration is implemented by 2015, particularly on ensuring the efficiency of trade among Asean-member nations.

"We are working closely with the different agencies in the government to ensure the resumption of flights between Davao and Manado and the serring up of Davao-Kota Kinabalu and Davao-Brunei routes," he said.

They are also pushing for the Roll-on, Roll-off (Roro) route connecting Davao, General Santos City, and Bitung in Indonesia and between Brooke's Point, Palawan and Kudat, Sabah.

As for tourism, they have launched community-based tourism project and have identified three locations in the Philippines: Tibolo cultural village in Davao del Sur, Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, and the Underground River in Palawan. Montenegro said there are also similar projects in Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

"The last pillar is the environment. It is important that all the countries in the sub-region and Asean, as we look towards the integration next year, we anchor all our developments on the sustainability of the environment," he said.

Montenegro said there is no use of robust growth if the nations leave environment behind in a bad state.

One of the initiatives for the environment is the establishment of the electronic waste (e-waste) facility which aims to protect the environment from harmful contaminants caused by improper disposal of electronic equipment.

An establishment of a protocol for disaster risk reduction among the countries in the sub-region on working together to prevent disaster or on the responses done if there is a disaster, is also being pushed.

Technical discussions will end on Wednesday and on Thursday, outputs will be presented to the senior officials of BIMP-Eaga. Government officials of the agencies on transport, environment, trade and investment, and foreign affairs from all four countries will be attending the event.

The BIMP-Eaga is a sub-regional corporation founded in 1984 to spur trade, investment, and tourism within the area.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 11, 2014.

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