THE reviving the Zamboanga-Sandakan-Tawi-Tawi trading sea route, it will help boost the formation of Tawi-Tawi free economic zone.
“We must invest in Tawi-Tawi because Tawi-Tawi is a part of Mindanao, a part of our home,” Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) Secretary Datu Abdul Khayr Dangcal Alonto said during the third Mindanao Shipping Conference 2018 at Waterfront Insular Hotel, Davao City.
Alonto said Tawi-Tawi with its geographical setting is a strategic avenue to conduct and even empower trading routes in the island region of Tawi-Tawi and even neighboring Asean countries like Malaysia, Brunei, and even Indonesia.
“With the potential that we can create with the development in Tawi-Tawi we can give a better future for Mindanao,” Alonto said.
In 2017, the World Bank recommended a free trade zone in the Basilan, Sulu, and Basulta area of Tawi-Tawi which can generate economic prosperity in the region.
According to the recommendations of the bank’s 100-page study in June 2017, “Mindanao Jobs Report” it suggested a zero tariff and few non-tariff barriers in the Tawi-Tawi region.
“Basulta in Tawi-Tawi could return to a version of the barter trade that made it prosperous in the past,” the World Bank said in its report.
Alonto said the revival of the sea route was the result of Minda’s request to the Malaysian Signing Minister and lobbying with the Malaysian transport authorities last June in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
“The Malaysian side agreed to change some policies as to documentary requirements from the Philippine side. By this, we are hoping that a sustainable inter-island sea trading route will be permanent between these countries,” Alonto said.
Alonto also added that with the expansion in investments within the Tawi-Tawi region, Palawan is also eyed as one of the provinces for shipment operations.
“We would also encourage our Mindanao shipping service companies to look at the possibility of expanding your operation in the Province of Palawan,” Alonto said.