THE Philippines has expressed its intention to be part of the China’s maritime silk road initiative (CMSRI) as it encouraged Association of Southeast Asian Nations–member ports to also join it for greater economic cooperation and connectivity in Southeast Asia.
Transport Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said the Duterte administration already expressed its desire to join CMSRI during President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent China visit.
“I am convinced that opportunities are there for making strategic port infrastructure investment, which can connect major Philippine gateways and other Asean Ports Association member ports to huge markets along the maritime silk road corridor,” Tugade said at the 42nd meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Ports Association.
The maritime silk road, is principally a sea route from the South China Sea and South East Asia, through the Indian Ocean and Middle East area into the eastern Mediterranean. Its main target is to have port infrastructure projects linked with some land-based projects. Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) hosted the Asean Ports Association (APA) meeting held at the Solaire Resorts Hotel in Entertainment City in Parañaque on November 15-16, 2016.
Tugade said the maritime silk road offers immense growth opportunities for the nine-member countries of APA namely; Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
He said the APA members can expand their trading base in traditional markets such as the United States, Japan. China, Australia and India.
“The Philippines, in particular is looking forward to tapping the huge Chinese tourism market, now that it had a stronger relationship with China. However, it needs to catch up with its Asean neighbors, which enjoy huge cruise tourist arrivals as they continuously prep up their ports for cruise tourism,” he said.
Tugade stressed the significance of maritime cooperation with Japan anchored on safety and security of the Philippines and the entire APA community, considering the group’s strategic program on port safety, health, and environmental management. The group promotes green and sustainable ports through best practices as well as the Asean maritime roll-on, roll–off (Ro-Ro) route particularly, the Bitung-Davao-General Santos link.
Meanwhile, PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago is looking forward to establishing closer ties and furthering active engagements among APA members in collaborative efforts in their priority concerns for future policy formulation and program planning.
“APA will always take a dynamic and active role in our collective pursuit to attain efficiency and productivity in our ports while gearing up for more challenges that will strengthen the association’s clout in the Asean community by way of more focused and groundbreaking port and maritime initiatives and projects,” Santiago said.
“We are confident that the future of the APA will always remain bright and intertwined with the unified efforts of its member nations,” Santiago added.