RP delegates gear up for 6th BIMP EAGA Summit in Thailand
Manila (23 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and key Philippine-EAGA officials are heading off for Hua Hin, Thailand to participate in this year's Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit on October 25.
Joining President Arroyo's entourage are Senator Miriam Santiago, Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao and Philippine EAGA Signing Minister Jesus Dureza, Mindanao Economic Development Council Chairman Virgilio Leyretana and Trade Undersecretary Merly Cruz, also the Philippine Senior Official for BIMP-EAGA.
The Philippine delegation will also be joined by key private sector and local government representatives which include BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BEBC) Philippine Director Vicente Lao, Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Lagdameo representing the House EAGA Affairs Committee, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) for Mindanao Director Elena Haw, South
Cotabato Governor Daisy Fuentes representing the Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors and Municipal Mayors League Presidents of Mindanao (CONFED) and BIMP EAGA Special Envoy to Indonesia Retired Gen. Efren Abu.
The BIMP-EAGA Leaders Summit is an annual gathering of the sub-region's four Heads of State to renew commitment and further deepen cooperation among the member countries in various areas.
The summit is also a venue for EAGA Leaders to discuss and exchange views on various sub-regional issues of mutual concern.
At the Informal Senior Official Meeting (SOM) held in Melaka, Malaysia last October 14, the four EAGA member countries met to finalize the agenda and preparations for the Summit.
Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Najib Razak, standing chair of this year's summit, will lead the four countries to the discussions on various BIMP EAGA initiatives which are geared towards making the sub-region a Single Ecotourism Destination and Food Basket for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the rest of Asia.
The Summit will highlight issues such as providing opportunities for cooperation in food production and small and medium enterprise (SME) Development, enhancing Intra-EAGA connectivity, promoting the sub-region as an ecotourism destination and expanding BIMP-EAGA's strategic partnerships.
The meeting will also include presentations and updates on various accomplishments from the 5th BIMP-EAGA Leaders Summit also held in Thailand last February 28.
In line with the expansion of the sub-region's partnerships, the Framework of Economic Cooperation (FoEC) between BIMP-EAGA and China was recently completed and is scheduled for signing on October 24, a day before the Summit.
The areas of cooperation include agriculture, forestry, fishery, tourism, exploration of minerals, energy and other natural resources, infrastructure, human resources development, development of alternative sources of fuel, and finance.
Created in 1994, BIMP-EAGA is a four-country grouping collectively pursuing sub-regional economic growth. With an estimated 50 million people spread out across 1.5 million square kilometers of land in four countries, the BIMP-EAGA is Asia's largest sub-regional cooperation. (MEDCo) [top]