Sea connectivity between Tawi-tawi, Tarakan eyed

AS THE Davao-General Santos-Bitung connectivity is gaining ground, a government top official is pushing for another direct sea linkage from Mindanao to Indonesia.

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Datu HJ. Abul Khayr Alonto said there should be another sea linkage, particularly between Tawi-Tawi and Tarakan in Indonesia. “Hopefully, this should be (as this will eventually become beneficial in the) creation of Tawi-Tawi Freeport and Economic Zone,” he said.

Alonto said it is high time that Tawi-tawi hosts an international port as about 150 foreign vessels have been passing through the Sibutu Strait every day. He would also want to position it as a transshipment hub.

To ensure the peace and stability in the area, Alonto said they are also pushing for the upgrade of the naval station and make it as the naval base. This plan would be proposed to Congress.

Meanwhile, Philippines and Indonesia are preparing for the launching of the Davao-General Santos-Bitung sea connectivity. This would be formally launched on April 30 at Kudos Port, Sasa with President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo were invited to grace the event.

The sea link is among the priorities of Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area.

“Let me encourage my fellow Mindanawons to take advantage of the presence of our Indonesian counterparts and explore business to business arrangements and agreements with our friendly neighbors,” Alonto said. (By Kristianne M. Fusilero)

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