THE Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo), which will connect Davao and General Santos City to Bitung Indonesia, is scheduled to set sail this year, the Philippine ambassador to Indonesia Maria Lumen Isleta announced on Friday.
Although she did not reveal the exact date, Isleta said they are now discussing the preparations for the initial voyage of the RoRo, adding that this will further spur trade between the Philippines and Indonesia.
“The Philippines and Indonesia Inter-Agency Task Force for the Operationalization of the Davao or General Santos City to Roll-on/Roll-off Route discussed the preparations for the maiden voyage of the RoRo,” Isleta said.
Isleta said the Roro Route under the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations RoRo Initiative is aimed to enhance maritime connectivity among 10-member countries.
Isleta said the new route is a more cost and time-efficient alternative to the usual Manila to Jakarta to Bitung route which would take about three to five weeks of shipping time.
With the new route, she said direct shipping from Davao to General Santos to Bitung, Indonesia route will take only one day and a half by ship, excluding the port stay.
Isleta said the new route is expected to spur trade between Mindanao and the Sulawesi provinces in Indonesia once the RoRo starts operating this year.
She added that the new route will also provide greater access for local businessmen to engage in international trade, as well as stimulate other areas of development such as joint tourism promotion, establishment of direct linkages, and increase in investment inflows.
Since 1949, the Indonesian government has opened its representative office (Consular Office) in Manila but it was not until the early 1950s that a diplomatic office (Embassy) was established headed by an ambassador.
To institutionalize the relation between the two countries, a treaty of friendship was signed on June 21, 1951.
This Treaty defined the basic relationship of both countries, covering several aspects such as maintenance of peace and friendship, settlement of disputes by diplomatic and peaceful means, traffic arrangements for citizens of both countries and activities to promote cooperation in the area of trade, cultural, shipping, etc. which include the political, social-economic and security matters of both countries.