Stakeholders of the agricultural sector and business leaders in Mindanao and their counterparts in North Sulawesi, Indonesia will hold a two-day business and trade matching in Manado, Indonesia next month, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) announced over the weekend.
The press statement, which was released after the maiden flight between the city and Manado on Friday, said that the agency proposed the activity, which will take place on October 28-29, to North Sulawesi Vice Governor Steven Kandouw and Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Sinyo Harry Sarundajang who were part of the delegation from Manado.
The route is being serviced by Indonesia’s carrier Garuda Airlines.
The plan, said Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, MinDA chair, in a post on his official Facebook account, is to bring fruits, chicken and vegetables from Mindanao to Manado.
He added that the Mindanao business sector “will also explore North Sulawesi’s business potentials, including tourism destinations like scuba diving sites.”
Those joining the event will include fruit and vegetable farmers group leaders, poultry and livestock sector and tourism prospectors.
He said his agency will also discuss with the Department of Agriculture for the support to the agricultural sector stakeholders who will join the event.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian government, through the Indonesian Consulate here, said the air service is part of the commitment of the airline to support its government in strengthening its economic and tourism partnership between the two countries.
The statement quoted Ambassador Sinyo Harry Sarundajang as saying: “The re-establishment of the Davao-Manado flights is an enhancement of the air transport agreement signed between the two countries on 24 march 1972, followed by the expansion of air linkages between BIMP (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines) countries in 2007.”
The four countries are part of the sub-regional BIMP-East Asean Growth Area.
Sarundajang said that the air service has become among the steps that the two countries have been taking as he has been friends with President Rodrigo R. Duterte whom he met about 30 years ago when he was still mayor of Bitung as they have become true friends.
“It is my hope that connectivity between the people of Indonesia and the Philippines will be enhanced, since Davao is an economic powerhouse and Manado is both a business center and a gateway to many destinations in Indonesia, particularly the 17 provinces in the Eastern part of Indonesia,” he added.
Ari Askhara, chief executive officer of Garuda, said the air service is the effort of t he company to promote connectivity for passengers of the two countries.
“We do hope this Manado – Davao service will further boost those economic, investment, trade and tourism activities amongst the two countries, whilst offering easier access for travelers between Davao as the one of the central business city in the Southern Philippines to various destinations in North Sulawesi,’ said Askhara.
“With 2,3 million people travelling to Davao in 2018, this new service will be a potential opportunity for Manado tourism,” he said, adding that the route is expected to boost tourism of the two destinations.
The airline is using the 70-passenger ATR 72-600.