Editorial: Boosting Philippines-Brunei Darussalam partnership

Four Brunei Darussalam projects - the Trans-Borneo Railways, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Halal Food Park, new buses for the Trans-Borneo bus services, and an airline route servicing the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) - will open 20,000 job opportunities for Filipinos. Brunei's biggest cooperative, the Koperasi Bumiputera Bersatu Berhad (KBBB), signed on June 28, 2013, a memorandum of understanding with the BIMP-EAGA Business Council on the projects.

Filipinos are expected to benefit from more trade and labor opportunities with the four KBBB projects, estimated to cost $15.6 billion or 20 billion Brunei dollars. Filipino skilled workers such as contractors, design firms, and engineers will be hired for the projects. KBBB was set up in 2006 as a cooperative of voluntary associations to raise the Bumiputera community's economic well-being through regional and global partnerships.

The planned 4,440-kilometer Trans-Borneo Railway system is expected to allow for freer flow of products among the four BIMP-EAGA countries, as it will connect Brunei to Malaysia and Indonesia, and to the Philippines via an existing ferry service. The ASEAN Halal Park is envisioned to be the "Halal Hub of the World" with 1,000 Halal-certified manufacturing centers. There will be new buses and coaches for the Trans-Borneo Bus Services to transport people in the region. The proposed Darussalam Air project is expected to provide budget fares to people of the BIMP-EAGA region, especially travelers going on pilgrimages.

Launched in 1994 to initiate cooperation among ASEAN member-states, BIMP-EAGA covers the whole of Brunei Darussalam, 10 provinces in the Indonesian islands of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, and Irian Jaya; Sabah, Sarawak, and Labuan in Malaysia; and Mindanao and Palawan in the Philippines. The sub-grouping spurs development by boosting intra-EAGA trade, tourism, and investments. The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) serves as the Philippine Coordinating Office for BIMP-EAGA under Republic Act 9996, the MinDa Act of 2010.

We congratulate H.E., President Benigno S. Aquino III; His Majesty, Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah; Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area Business Council Executive Chairman Pengiran Haji Mohd Yusof; Mindanao Development Authority Chairperson Luwalhati R. Antonino; and KBBB Chairperson Suharani binti Haji Abd Ladi; in their collective efforts to enhance and complement the developmental goals of the BIMP-EAGA Region and the Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

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