The City of Cotabato in the Southern Philippines and the City of Bandung, the capital of West Java Province in Indonesia, are the new sister cities in the ASEAN region after officials of both cities signed the sisterhood agreement in Bandung City to promote cultural, trade and tourism ties between the two emerging cities in the BIMP-EAGA region.
BIMPA-EAGA is the acronym of the Brunei Indonesia and Malaysia Philippines (BIMP) East Asean Growth Area (EAGA). The four-member subregional economic co-operation group was conceptualised to accelerate economic development in areas that are geographically distant from their national capitals, yet in strategic proximity to each other, in one of the world's most resource-rich regions.
Represented in the signing of the sisterhood agreement were Bandung City Mayor Ridwan Kamil and Cotabato Vice Mayor Graham Dumama, which was witnessed by key officials of both cities.
Known as the Paris of Java, Bandung City is known for its shopping destination because of cheap silk goods and products aside from being the capital of West Java Province. The ceremonial signing event was hosted by the Office of the City Mayor of Bandung.
On the other hand, Cotabato has 37 villages and is the regional government seat of the Autonmous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). it is also known for the preservation of its Islamic culture despite the modernization of the city.
Both city governments committed to pursuing the goals as stated in the sisterhood pact that is full of economic and trade potentials.
"We look forward to a fruitful 'sisterhood' with Bandung. Both cities have much in common especially when it comes to governance and I believe that we can both learn from each other further", Dumama was quoted by the Philippine Star.
In 1997, the city of Zamboanga in the Southern Philippines and the city of Sandakan in Malaysia also signed a sisterhood agreement. This was the first sisterhood agreements forged when the concept of BIMP-EAGA was introduced. Zamboanga and Sandakan have been trading volume of goods since the sisterhood agreement was signed.
Earlier this month, M/V Super Shuttle RORO 12 also made an inaugural voyage to North Sulawesi Indonesia loading containers of flours that will be exported to Indonesia. The exported goods were owned by Pilmico Good, Inc., a Mindanao-based manufacturing company. RORO is the acronym of Roll on Roll Off which refers to a ship built so vehicles can drive directly to inter islands destinations