DAVAO CITY―President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo officially launched the Davao City-General Santos-Bitung, Indonesia, route that will shorten the time and lessen the cost of trading goods between the Philippines and Indonesia.
The new route is one of the new shipping routes of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malasi-Philippines East Asean Growth Area or BIMP-EAGA.
The Davao-Gensan-Bitung route will only take a day and a half to travel and save as much as $1,500 in travel cost compared to the Manila-Jakarta route that takes four to five weeks.
“As we open this new maritime trade route, we reaffirm our ties with each other and commit ourselves to the aspirations of the larger Asean Community,” Duterte said.
“This route shall be the first of the many routes that will form the international RORO network envisioned by our fellow Asean leaders to provide greater accessibility and open more opportunities for our countries.”
Duterte called on the private sector to support the new route to help maintain its stability.
President Joko Widodo said that the new route was beneficial for the two countries.
“The launching of the Roll on, Roll off RORO Davao-General Santos―Bitung route is an important milestone. It will cut the amount of time of transportation of goods of the two regions,” Widodo said.
He said trade between Indonesia and Philippines increased by more than 30 last year.
He said he understood Duterte since he himself was also a former mayor before he became president. That was the reason he immediately addressed the imbalance of development when he took his oath more than two years ago.
“President Duterte and I sincerely believe that the people in the outer region are just as smart, are just as strong, are just as resourceful as the rich people in the capital cities. They only need one thing, one thing only and that is to be given a chance,” Widodo said.
Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said that, for the new route to prosper, the management and the people should never forget that safety and security should be ensured in the high seas.
Ronald Go, president of Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., said at least 35 Davao- based businessmen and 30 Indonesian businessmen will meet to discuss the products that they will ship.
He said the company Aboitiz had already committed to transport its goods using the new routes.
“There are a lot of prospects that can be traded. It was mentioned that it will be mostly agricultural products, ice cream, construction materials and even batteries. These are all products of Davao City,” Go said. With Sandy Araneta
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