Jakarta wants to boost air, sea traffic with Manila

To boost trade with the country, Indonesia is now pushing for the reopening of flight routes and “revitalizing” existing shipping routes to Mindanao.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the increased transportation connectivity will translate to more trade potential with the Philippines.

“I proposed the revitalization of shipping route—Ro-Ro [roll-on/roll-off] shipping routes between Bitung and Davao and reopening of Manado-Davao flight route,” Widodo said in Bahasa during his joint statement with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. in Bogor Presidential Palace on Monday.

Bitung and Manado are cities both located in the island of Sulawesi, which is located over 1,140 kilometers south of Davao City.

Growing trade

Currently, Widodo said trade between the Philippines and Indonesia has already increased by 50 percent compared to last year.

Most of the traded goods between the two countries are food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, coconut, and seaweed products.

Widodo said he hopes the country will also procure aircrafts, ships, and railway equipment from Indonesian state owned-enterprises (SOEs).

“Going forward, I hope that more opportunities arise for Indonesian SOEs and the private sector to support development in the Philippines,” Widodo said.

Maritime security

Widodo also discussed initiatives to strengthen Philippines-Indonesia border security cooperation.

This includes the review of two border security agreements with the Philippines and the signing of the Agreement on Cooperative Activities in the Field of Defense and Security.

Widodo said the renewed Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement (TCA) among Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia will also be crucial in keeping safe the territorial waters of the said countries.

He noted the TCA will help deter hostage-taking and kidnapping in the territories of the said signatories.

“Indonesia wishes to ensure that ASEAN remains an engine of peace, stability, peace and prosperity in the region,” Widodo said.

Marcos is currently in Indonesia for the first part of his State Visits this week. He is scheduled to fly to Singapore by Tuesday.

Image credits: AP/Achmad Ibrahim, Pool

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