THE PHILIPPINES and Indonesia are set to launch a new route for roll on, roll off (ro-ro) vessels that will connect Mindanao to Bitung and Manado in Indonesia.
President Rodrigo Duterte is set to welcome Indonesian leader Joko Widodo today for a state visit, a day after doing the same for Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei on Thursday and witnessing the signing of cooperation agreements between the Philippines and Brunei.
An Indonesian business delegation is also scheduled to travel to Davao City to participate in the launching of the Davao/General Santos-Bitung Asean ro-ro shipping service.
The maiden voyage will be launched by Duterte and Widodo on April 30, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.
A business-to-business meeting between Indonesian and Mindanaoan companies will take place after the launching to encourage more entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities being offered by the new shipping service, the DTI said.
Indonesian conglomerates are expected to sign at least eight memoranda of understanding (MOUs) through the DTI to expand their businesses in the Philippines.
“The agreements would pave the way for the expansion of Indonesian businesses in the Philippines, investments in water delivery, sewerage and sanitation services, cooperation agreements in property development, and the promotion and distribution of Indonesian products to the Philippines and vice versa,” the DTI said in a statement.
The DTI welcomed a 40-member Indonesian business delegation on April 26, composed of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and big-business chiefs.
Indonesian Chamber of Commerce Chairman Rosan Roeslani led the business delegation that will be in Manila until April 30 to conduct a series of business-to-business meetings with their Philippine counterparts.
The business visit is one of the side events during the state visit of Widodo that begins today, ahead of the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
A business networking forum was held on April 26 at the Indonesian Embassy.
Indonesian Ambassador Johny Lumintang noted the improving trade relations between the Philippines and Indonesia, with trade transactions amounting to $3.56 billion in 2015.
Indonesia is the ninth largest trading partner of the Philippines, accounting for 3.7 percent of the Philippines’ total trade.
The delegation is set to meet with top business executives at the sidelines of today’s “Prosperity for All Summit” organized by the Asean Business Advisory Council.
PH, Brunei sign pacts
Malacañang on Thursday welcomed Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei for a state visit that saw the signing of two MOUs on cultural cooperation and the development of the booming halal industry.
A 21-gun salute boomed in the distance as President Rodrigo Duterte and Bolkiah stood on a carpeted platform at the Kalayaan Grounds while the anthems of both countries were played. The two leaders later trooped the line.
Duterte then introduced Bolkiah to a line of Cabinet officials, while Bolkiah introduced the President to members of his official delegation before walking inside the Palace for a bilateral meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room.
The deal on cultural cooperation aims to promote and enhance knowledge and understanding of visual, musical and performing arts; literature and cultural activities between the two countries.
The agreement on the halal industry and halal product development provides the framework for bilateral cooperation toward an exchange of investment, products, technology and best practices in food preparation compliant with Islamic law, the Palace said.
During the bilateral meeting, the two leaders underscored the importance of further strengthening defense ties, focusing on countering terrorism, violent extremism and piracy at sea.
“Waging a committed and principled campaign against terrorism, violent extremism and piracy at sea; and peace and development in Mindanao remain key areas of convergence for Philippines and Brunei Darussalam,” Duterte said.
He thanked Brunei for its support for the Mindanao peace process through the International Monitoring Team and the Independent Decommissioning Body, as well as Mindanao’s development.