COTABATO CITY — Officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) welcomed on Tuesday, July 26, Malaysia’s Sabah Special Envoy for the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Pandikar Amin Haji Mulia and his party during their short visit at the Bangsamoro Government Center in this city.
On behalf of Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim, the special envoy was personally received by Interior and Local Government (MILG) Minister Naguib Sinarimbo together with Transportation and Communication (MOTC) Minister Dickson Hermoso, Public Works (MPW) Minister Eduard Guerra, and Trade, Tourism and Investments (MTIT) Minister Abu Amri Taddik.
Joining the ministers were Director General Rosslaini Alonto and Director Hussein Biruar of MTIT, Director General Pendatun Patarasa of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), and Deputy Director General Amil J. Abubakar and Director Akmad Guinta of the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA).
In his message, DDG Abubakar cited the signing of a ‘Memorandum of Cooperation’ between the Bangsamoro government and Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) to strengthen cooperation and commitment to accelerate socioeconomic growth and enhance business opportunities, integration, and development in the Bangsamoro region.
“Your visit is indeed timely. This meeting would mean greater and stronger coordination and may bring more economic opportunities for Sabah and Mindanao, especially in BARMM,” he said.
The special envoy’s visit was primarily intended for underdeveloped, marginalized, and geographically isolated areas in BIMP-EAGA’s four member countries as part of a larger effort to close the development gap, not only between, but also within the ASEAN member states. Its cooperation is anchored on five strategic pillars, including connectivity, food basket, tourism, environment, socio-cultural, and education.
In a statement, Special Envoy Tan Sri underscored that BARMM now has greater autonomy in terms of security and foreign policy. Further, he expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the Bangsamoro government to promote tourism, agriculture, barter trade, and security in the region.
Rohanisah Rashid, Economic Planning Division Chief of the BPDA, presented the ‘BARMM Enhanced 12-Point Priority Agenda’ and the updates on BIMP-EAGA. She also emphasized the ongoing efforts to increase BARMM’s involvement in BIMP-EAGA such as the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation, creation of the BARMM BIMP-EAGA Economic Linkages Sub-Committee, collaboration and cooperation with MinDA, creation of the Mindanao Barter Council and the Bangsamoro Barter Trade Council, and the development of the Halal Beef Production Industry through MAFAR.
Moreover, a Stakeholder’s Consultation Meeting was conducted by MinDA to discuss ways to strengthen commercial, trade, and investment links between Sabah and Mindanao under the context of BIMP-EAGA.
Established in 1994, BIMP-EAGA seeks to spur socioeconomic development in remote and less developed areas in the four participating Southeast Asian countries. (BPDA-BARMM)