Zamboanga hosts RETA 6408, BIMP-EAGA CIQS TF meet
By Mimi G. Bern-Edaga
Zamboanga City (February 20) -- The Inception Workshop of the Regional Technical Assistance (RETA) 6408 and Strategic Planning Meeting of the BIMP-EAGA Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security (CIQS) Task Force was formally opened at the Garden Orchid Hotel yesterday.
Mayor Celso Lobregat welcomed the delegates and at same time pledged and reiterated his commitment to revitalize the city's participation and support to the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) concept during the opening of the RETA 6408 & BIMP-EAGA CIQS TF Meet. He stressed that its success "will be the gain of the city and the four member countries."
The BIMP-EAGA concept was launched in 1994 as a key strategy of the participating governments to accelerate economic growths in their less developed and more remote territories.
MEDCo initiated the creation of local CIQS Consultative Councils at the major ports of entry with the primary objective to probe on CIQS issues specific in the ports and to interface with CIQS agencies on the delivery of their services as well as expedite the adoption of proposed port-to-port arrangements with other EAGA member-countries.
The finalization of the CIQS rules, regulations and procedures would ensure a freer and movement of people, goods and services between and among the BIMP-EAGA member countries.
Bilateral meetings between the CIQS agencies of the Zamboanga City and Sandakan ports as well as in the ports of General Santos City - Bitung, Indonesia and Davao City - Manado, Indonesia are periodically conducted with the Australian Agency for International Development (AUSAID) funding the said activity.
Training-workshop on project formulation for CIQS agencies on immigration, quarantine and security sectors are conducted since 2004. Participants were trained to analyze situations, graph problems and propose interventions through technical assistance and capability trainings.
The CIQS cooperation initiative which aims to harmonize the cross-border process is also expected to do much for the economy of the country.
Similarly, the Cabinet "walk the talk" with the President today expressing full support on her administration as she is doing much for the country, especially on the economy which posted the fastest growth in three decades at 7.3 percent in 2007, and reduced the budget deficit to P9.4 billion, the lowest in more than 10 years.
The twin activity ends today with an action plan to realize its agenda for 2008 which include the conduct more relevant CIQS capability trainings, deliver CIQS functions by concerned agencies effectively and efficiently, harmonized CIQS rules and procedures and achieve a meaningful collaboration among CIQS agencies and private and business sector organizations.
Commissioner Napoleon Morales headed the Philippine delegation while Tomomi Tamaki represented the Asian Development Board (ADB). (PIA9/zc) [top]