Alternative sought to blockaded PH-Sabah ‘barter trade’ line
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) is pushing for the establishment of a new trade route that covers Negros, Palawan, Labuan in Malaysia and Brunei as the recent spate of kidnappings has hampered sea navigation and trade in the south.
The new route, dubbed Nepalabru and which is set for opening in July, is seen as a “temporary alternative” to the barter trade in the Mindanao-Sabah area, which has stopped following the kidnapping of Malaysian and Indonesian nationals attributed to the Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom group.
PCCI president George T. Barcelon said in a statement the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry is helping prepare a maiden voyage for the new trade corridor.
“The preparations are being made considering the high social and economic benefits to Nepalabru communities when commercial goods, tourism products and ideas cross borders, create more jobs, and disperse incomes to the population,” Barcelon said.
He said a PCCI-organized delegation visited Labuan and Brunei in early April, which reported that counterpart groups were eager to reactivate business councils to serve commercial and economic relations in cooperation with government ministries.
Barcelon said these groups include the Philippines-Brunei Business Council and the Philippines-Malaysia Business Council.
“The delegation reported also that Brunei and Labuan ministries expressed cooperation in helping Philippine halal food products break into the global market,” he said.
“It also recommended a review of and House Bill No. 634 and Senate Bill No. 2831, which promote the development of halal exports,” he added. “This was to ensure the global market acceptability of Philippine halal food products.”
The PCCI chief said forums and technical trainings, workshops and seminars on halal certification were recommended to increase understanding and capabilities of local small and medium enterprises.
“The delegation also said that its members formed alliances among tourism and travel operators in Malaysia and Brunei,” Barcelon said. “They also pushed for a review of Senate Bill No. 1422 of the proposed law creating a special economic zone and freeport in Brooke’s Point, Palawan,” he added.