Manila pushes Mindanao sea links with neighbouring countries

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


MANILA – The Philippine National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is pushing for the development of sea linkages between ports in Mindanao and three neighbouring Asean countries to boost regional trade.

In a speech at the second Mindanao Shipping Conference last Wednesday, Socioeconomic Planning secretary Emmanuel F Esguerra said that since Mindanao played a critical role in theAsean Economic Community, the following commercial routes should be established or improved.

They are: Davao and General Santos to Bitung and Manado in Indonesia; Tawi-Tawi and Tarakan, Indonesia; Zamboanga and Muara in Brunei; and Zamboanga and Sandakan in Malaysia.

Esguerra, who is NEDA’s director-general, said there were still |concerns on Mindanao’s sea transport sector that needed to be addressed.

Among the issues included the seaports’ limited capacity in terms of berthing structures, transit/cargo shed areas for non-containerised cargo, container yards for containerised cargo and passenger terminal buildings.

Esguerra said there was also a need to slash local cargo rates since prevailing rates in Mindanao were more expensive than foreign cargo rates. The NEDA chief said the government was ramping up infrastructure development to support economic growth across the country.

Major projects

“The growth-enhanced fiscal space has allowed major investments in infrastructure, with spending on public infrastructure more than tripling,” he said.

“The bulk of investments were slated for transportation, covering 43 per cent of total infrastructure investments from 2013 to 2016 and beyond, which was estimated to reach more than 7 trillion pesos (Bt5.2 trillion).

“This should be complemented by private investments in public infrastructure amounting to about 1.5 trillion pesos based on the status of PPP [public-private partnership] projects as of April.”

The NEDA chief was also bullish about the planned implementation of the three-year rolling infrastructure programme [Trip] starting |July.

Trip for the period 2017 to 2019 is aimed at “[meeting] investment targets for public infrastructure” while “[promoting] the optimal use of public resources for infrastructure development by assuring fund allocation for well-developed and readily-implementable projects”, NEDA said earlier.

“The multi-year rolling programme for infrastructure would ensure that once an infrastructure programme has been planned and it is rolled out, it is going to continue to receive funding from the government.

“This was one of our efforts to synchronise and tighten the link between the programming and budgeting functions of the government for infrastructure projects and programmes,” Esguerra had said.

According to the Department of Budget and Management, “the policy of dispersing the investment/infrastructure spending toward growth regions in the Visayas and Mindanao (such as central Visayas and northern Mindanao) was pursued [under Trip] to provide the physical infrastructure support for the promotion and development of business and industries”.

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