News Release

PBBM calls for enhanced partnership to further boost BIMP-EAGA

Seeing the huge growth potential of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. called for increased collaboration among concerned nations for further development of the region.

“BIMP-EAGA provides our common sub-region, which has long been impaired by strife, with better access to viable economic opportunities,” President Marcos said in his intervention at the 15th BIMP-EAGA Summit.

“So, let us continue this impetus for growth in BIMP-EAGA, and thereby position our very own sub-region as a well-connected, economically thriving, multi-country trade, investment, and tourism destination. There lies our future,” he said.

Marcos said the Philippines supports the increased focus of the BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025 on broad strategies to align sub-regional pandemic recovery and transformation efforts with the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, particularly in the areas of food security, creative industries and E-commerce, tourism recovery, and green recovery.

The pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine demonstrated the need to maintain the physical connectivity that underpins the region’s extensive and comprehensive logistics chain in all its aspects, the President pointed out.

“Our collective effort towards rebuilding the air and sea linkages disrupted by geopolitical challenges and the pandemic, still remains the key towards our full economic recovery,” he said, adding that efforts to revive the tourism industries should be the utmost priority following the pandemic.

“So, let us work together with our National Tourism Organizations and our private sector counterparts to breathe life into the Joint BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Tourism Recovery Communications Plan 2022-2024. Let us spread the tidings that a visit to the BIMP-EAGA sub-region is a safe, stress-free return to nature,” Marcos said.

Increased tourism will also reinvigorate the sub-region’s Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the backbone of the economy fundamental to achieving sustainable economic growth and narrowing development gap, and instrumental in wealth and employment creation, rising standards of living, and poverty reduction.

The President also rallied for support for “nano businesses” or the kind of self-employed businesses that fall outside of the category of MSMEs such as dry cleaners, corner shop owners, single retail marketers, repairers, painters, among others.

“Though they constitute a large portion of all economies, viable, and play an important role across the country, they remain unrecognized … aiding them will contribute to our overall economic growth and will narrow those development gaps,” Marcos said.

The President also emphasized the importance of BIMP-EAGA’s synergies and partnerships with external partners, such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan, Republic of Korea, China, and the Northern Territory of Australia.

Calling for sustained partnerships with those entities, the Philippine leader also welcomed the BIMP-EAGA-Korea Cooperation Fund (BKCF) and the increase of the Republic of Korea’s contribution from US$1M in 2021 to US$3M in 2022.

He reported that the Philippines, in particular, continue to benefit from the BKCF Fund from projects in the Environment, Tourism, and Connectivity Sectors with a total support worth an estimated US$ 1.2 million.

At the same time, BIMP-EAGA must achieve strategic coherence within the larger ambit of ASEAN initiatives, and sustain platforms of dialogue through regional mechanisms, including APT, RCEP, APEC, AANZFTA and the ASEAN Plus 1 FTAs.

Launched in 1994, BIMP-EAGA has delivered impressive results with the current numerous transport networks spanning the sub-region, buttressed by enhanced economic policies facilitating the movement of goods, people, and services.

Trade in the sub-regional economy grew by 2.4 percent in 2021, compared to a 3.3 percent contraction in 2020.

The implementation of priority investments programs is largely on track, and the rolling pipeline of projects is now valued at $32.8 billion.

Joint initiatives in agriculture, tourism, investment, ICT, and human resource development are helping address shared economic, environmental, and social challenges, making BIMP-EAGA an integral building block for ASEAN integration. (PND)