DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Davao City has been identified as main Philippine hub in a project that would link major ports in the 11-country Association of Southeast Asian nations, a local business leader said here on Wednesday.
Dr. Malou Monteverde, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce Industries Inc., told reporters the information was relayed to the chamber by Teresita Sy-Coson, one of the country’s three representatives to the Asean Business Council (Abac) during her visit here last week.
Monteverde said Sy-Coson told the business community here that it was Davao, not Manila or Cebu, which will serve as the Philippine’s main hub in the Asean connectivity project, which will link up the country’s seaports and airports to those in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
“The Asean connectivity project plans to make Davao City the main hub, an entry point to the Philippines,” she said.
But while the plan was very good, Monteverde said, the business community here was worried. She said the city might not be ready for it because of lack of infrastructure. The existing ones, she said, might have to be improved first.
“But are the Davao ports ready? Sasa is getting very congested, our smaller ports need to be rehabilitated, it’s possible that new ports will be opened in Davao,” she said.
Monteverde said what the city government should do is to prepare the much needed infrastructure to seize the opportunities presented by the prospect.
She said based on Sy’s briefing, the Asean-wide connectivity is among the top priority projects Abac has identified in the next three to five years.
“The first project will be a roll-on, roll-off port from Davao and other parts of Mindanao, which is a part of the Asean-wide connectivity project,” Monteverde said.
She said that Asean business leaders will meet next week in Indonesia or Malaysia to extensively discuss the Asean connectivity project.
“In our end, we should be ready with the infrastructure to support what is going to happen,” Monteverde said.