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PIA Press Release

EAGA ministers, senior officials meet in Kuching

Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia (28 September) -- Recent developments in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) are set to unfold as the four member countries are set to meet here today (28 Sept) for the 19th Senior Officials and 15th Ministerial Meeting (SOM/MM).

Slated September 28 - October 1, this year's SOM/MM hosts a series of high-level meetings to be held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

The four-day activity will gather key officials and stakeholders from both the government and private sector in the different BIMP-EAGA member-countries and will tackle issues related to the subregional cooperation such as the progress of implemented flagship programs and projects as well as cooperation with development partners such as China and Japan.

Also included in the agenda are discussions on the status of various technical assistance projects with development partners like the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), said that the event is an opportune time to assess the progress of BIMP-EAGA's thrust to position the subregion as the "food basket" and "premier ecotourism destination" in the ASEAN and the rest of Asia.

"The results of these meetings will have significant implications on our current efforts to sustain the gains of our BIMP-EAGA initiatives in Mindanao", said Antonino, who is heading the Philippine delegation as the Philippine Signing Minister together with Trade Undersecretary Merly Cruz as the Philippine Senior Official for BIMP-EAGA.

Republic Act 9996 mandates MinDA as the official and permanent Philippine Coordinating Office for BIMP-EAGA (PCOBE), and as lead agency of the government in coordinating the formulation and implementation of policies and programs, including the monitoring of all activities related thereto.

Also included in the meetings are members from different national government agencies and delegates from the Private sector.

Representative Ma. Rachel Arenas, chair of the House EAGA affairs committee, and Representative Nancy Catamco of North Cotabato will also be joining the delegation to represent the country during the SOM Plenary Session with Local Government Unit (LGU) officials.

Since last year, the BIMP-EAGA SOM has widened its scope of interaction with the integration of the leaders of LGUs in their meetings in lieu of separate LGU Forums.

Other events scheduled to be held back to back with this year's SOM/MM are the BIMP-EAGA Trade Expo from September 28- October 1, and the BIMP-EAGA Business Conference on 30 in the same month.

The four-day activity will culminate with the Sarawak River Cruise for the visiting Ministers, Senior Officials and partners and a city tour which is open for all the delegates after the Ministerial Meeting on October 1. (MinDA) [top]

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