MOTC leads BARMM-MinDA joint visit in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), headed by Minister Dickson P. Hermoso, led the week-long joint visit of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) ministries to the provinces of Tawi-Tawi and Sulu from May 22 to 28, 2022.
The MinDA team was headed by Secretary Ma. Belen Acosta herself. The BARMM ministries represented, aside from MOTC, were: the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism (MTIT), headed by Deputy Minister Sukarno Abas; the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), headed by Director-General Pendatun Patarasa; the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), headed by Director-General Abdultakma Asim; and the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD), represented by Engr. Salman Abu.
Member of Parliament Eddie Mapay Alih, Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Communications of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, also joined the team.
The joint team assessed the development needs and opportunities in the two provinces, as well as the readiness of local stakeholders and facilities to address these needs and avail of the opportunities. Of particular interest were the tourism potentials of the area and expanded trade in the context of the Brunei Darussalam – Indonesia – Malaysia - Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). Consultation visits were made to the local government units (LGUs) to get their views and inputs in this regard. The different ministries also looked into their respective frontline operations.
The team took time to visit the ports and airports in the area as these are crucial to both tourism and trade. These included the ports of Bongao, Sibutu, Sitangkai, Taganak, and Mapun in Tawi-Tawi and Jolo Port in Sulu. Also visited were Sanga-Sanga Airport in Tawi-Tawi and Jolo Airport in Sulu, as well as the air strips in Sibutu and Mapun.
Upon disembarking at Polloc Port, Minister Hermoso expressed his gratitude to everyone who took part in the visit, especially to the Philippine Coast Guard District BARMM, headed by CG Capt. Regard Marfe. The PCG made available a 44-meter long Parola-class patrol vessel for the trip.
The joint BARMM-MinDA team was unanimous in saying that the visit was very useful and enlightening. And the consensus was a follow-up visit should be planned in the near future.