Local shippers back Mindanao bill

Dec. 09, 2009

MISAMIS ORIENTAL, PHILIPPINES—A resolution requesting the Senate to fast track the passage of a bill that will

integrate peace and development efforts in the island of Mindanao was unanimously approved by an island-wide shippers group in their recent Mindanao logistics conference.

Vic Lagdamen, president of the Mindanao Federation of Shippers’ Association (Minfesa) Inc., and Omar Vallejera, Minfesa conference chairperson, signed a resolution seeking assistance in speeding up the immediate approval of Senate Bill 3496, otherwise known as the Mindanao Economic Development Authority Act (Meda) of 2009.

The resolution was presented to key stakeholders from foreign shipping industries and representatives from the private sector and government agencies present at the conference held on November 25-26 at the Mindanao Container Terminal Complex at the Phividec Industrial Authority in Tagoloa.

The two-day conference was spearheaded by the Minfesa to push for the opening of a north to south Mindanao link as a main corridor, similar to the Davao-Cagayan expressway, to bolster the mobility of goods and people and fast track economic development in Mindanao.

Lagdamen noted the need for an integrated logistics and transportation plan to improve the connections between Mindanao’s major growth centers and strengthen logistics infrastructure and activities to reduce the cost of doing business.

He said the plan would significantly affect the infrastructure boost in Mindanao, with recently built facilities like the Mindanao Container Terminal, the expansion of seaports and airports as well as the improvement of national roads.

In the document signed by the Minfesa, the participants of the Mindanao Logistics Conference recognized the importance of a permanent Mindanao-wide mechanism to integrate and harmonize regional logistics, and infrastructure activities. The asssociation also moved for the creation of a satellite Meda office to be set up in Cagayan de Oro City for Northern Mindanao.

Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana Sr., chairperson of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (Medco) said that the enactment of the Meda bill will aid in reshaping the country’s physical and economic configuration.

“Through enhancing our transport network, the country can develop a unified and integrated economy where people and goods can move and trade swiftly and efficiently.” he said.

According to Leyretana, aside from integrating peace and development efforts in the island, Meda will and ensure its continuity and consistency with Mindanao’s unique landscape. (Medco)

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