RP, Indonesia ties mark 60th year
Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia (11 November) -- Sixty years after the diplomatic and economic relations between the Philippines and Indonesia was established in 1949, key players of the two neighboring countries have gathered here recently to celebrate the major gains of the Philippine-Indonesia bilateral ties.
On the occasion of the 60 Years Diplomatic Relations between Indonesia and Philippines held here last month, the continuing Philippine-Indonesia relations is viewed as a "catalyst" in the growth, stability and security of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
Both Indonesia and the Philippines are archipelagic and maritime countries whose strategic locations serve as vanguard over the sea route of trade and commerce from America and Europe that passes through Tawi Tawi and the Celebes Sea as well as of the fuel supply passing through Malacca and Lombok Straits.
In a statement, Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) Chairman Virgilio Leyretana said that the unique geographical and historical affinity between the Philippines and Indonesia, coupled with their rich natural endowments, has made the two countries "formidable partners", particularly in accelerating the growth of BIMP-EAGA.
"The Philippines highly regards Indonesia as an important partner in trade and a strong ally in securing peace and stability in Southeast Asia. Thus, we value our mutual bonds of friendship and association," said Leyretana, who joined his Indonesian counterparts as a resource person during the anniversary celebration held in Manado.
The Philippine-Indonesia relations begun on 24 November 1949 and since then major milestones have been achieved in the areas of peace and order cooperation, border management, defense and security, humanitarian aid as well as bilateral trade and investment relations.
The two countries have been strong trade and investment partners, marked by the bullish and sustained economic exchanges. In 2008, Indonesia ranked as Philippines' 14th bilateral trading partner and 13th export market. In 2007, Philippine exports to Indonesia amounted to US$524 million while its imports from Indonesia totaled US$1.2 billion.
According to the latest report of the Investment Coordinating Board of Indonesia, the Philippines had invested a total of US$167 million in 31 various projects in Indonesia from August 1967 to December 2000. The DTI Bureau of Export Trade Promotion also reported that Indonesian investments in the Philippines amounted to US$48.99 million in 1998.
Among the Filipino-Indonesian business engagements are the following: PT Sinar Pure Foods International in Bitung, Indonesia (tuna cannery; PT SAMUDRA in Bitung Indonesia; PT Karabha Sakti/Alliance Tuna International in Bitung (tuna cannery): PT Citra Raja Ampat, Sorong (Tuna cannery); Cargill Philippines Inc. General Santos City (copra processing); Horizon Can Corporation, Gensan (can/tin making): and Wings Air for the Davao-Manado air link and the previous Bouraq, Merpati and Sriwijaya Airlines.
Leyretana said that the RP-RI Border Agreement augurs well in the overall EAGA initiative to strengthen border patrols through the regional implementation of Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security (CIQS) laws
The strong Philippine-Indonesia relations was also noted with establishing closer ties between each local government unit as seen through the success of the Jose Abad Santos-Glan and Sarangani Cooperation Triangle (JAGS-CT) which effectively generated concrete gains in the sisterhood agreement on trade, tourism and education.
Meanwhile, both countries also support the recent Coral Triangle Initiative, which stresses the importance of marine and coastal resources and people of the Coral Triangle, the world's largest biodiversity site spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.
"Located within the Ring of Fire, both the Philippines and Indonesia have been victims of recent typhoons, earthquakes and many other natural calamities that wrecked havoc to both countries. Thus, we should be one in raising our voice to the Copenhagen Conference on climate change in December this year," Leyretana said on climate change.
He added that Indonesia and Philippines have gone a long way in nurturing the kind of relationship, a socio-cultural and economic bond that both countries enjoy today and stressed that both countries should provide the impetus for a strategic partnership and even greater friendship in the years to come.
"Our way to the future is therefore contingent on interregional cooperation and we hope that we continue to pursue coherence, consistency and continuity in all of our development effort for the sake of the future generation," Leyretana said. (MEDCo) [top]