PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan: Sabah and Palawan in the Philippines will stand to benefit tremendously if their leaders continue to further nurture their present harmonious relationships.
Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez said further enhancing the friendship between Sabah, particularly Kudat and Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan, would surely create positive economic activities in both areas.
Alvarez said the Kudat-Palawan ferry service, if it is approved by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, would provide more economic opportunities to improve the quality of life for the people in Sabah and Palawan, he said yesterday during a courtesy call by Institute For Development Studies (Sabah) Special Officer to the CEO, Joe Ang, IDS researcher Steve Jay, and BIMP-EAGA Kudat vice-chairman Datuk James Ibrahim at the povincial office in Puerto Princesa City..
However, Alvarez said his province will continue to respect the Sabah government’s decision last April suspending barter trading between Philippines and Sabah for security purposes.
“I understand the Chief Minister’s reasons to suspend the activity considering the many cross-border kidnapping incidents in Sabah since 2000,” the second-term governor said.
Alvarez strongly reiterated that the ferry service will not be rushed and will kick off only when all the facilities and other preparations are completed in Palawan and of course with the blessings from the Sabah government.
He said the Asian Ro-Ro Network Connectivity is one of the flagship programmes adopted during the 17th Asean Summit in Vietnam.
“Palawan is still behind Sabah by 20-30 years in terms of developments and it is for this reason that the province is very much eager to work closely with our beloved neighbour,” he said.
“What we do not have in the province to develop our place we will source it out from Sabah and at the same time, we will reciprocate the good gestures of our neighbour accordingly for the benefit of all.”
Elaborating briefly on the preparation of the ferry service, Alavarez said the ongoing road projects from Puerto Princesa to the Buliluyan port is expected to be completed in December and a Catamaran ferry is ready for disposal.
“I just want to assure Malaysia that the government of Palawan will focus on the aspects of security, trade commerce, exchange of cultural values and education among others apart from the real meaning of open borders as focal points of the ferry service,” he stressed.
As governor of the province, Alvarez said he would give his utmost support to the Sabah government to ensure success of the much waited ferry service in the event the Sabah government will give its green light.