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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

PHL hosts 41st ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting


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Transport officials and delegates from the 10-Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) convened today in this bustling business district to discuss initiatives that will enhance transport connectivity in the Region.

The Philippine Government, through the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), is hosting this year’s 41st Senior Transport Officials Meeting (STOM).

According to the DOTC, around 120 senior transport officials and delegates from the 10-Member States and from the Dialogue Partners will meet until Thursday, 28 April 2016 to discuss the status of various transportation projects and policy measures that will enhance regional cohesion.

The transport sector will also embark on new projects and programs as it adopts the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan (KLTSP) 2016-2025, the successor document that outlines 30 specific goals, 78 actions and 221 milestones in the five (5) areas of transportation namely: air, land, maritime, transport facilitation and sustainable transport, to guide the ASEAN economic integration from 2016 to 2025.

In her Opening Statement as Chairperson of the Meeting, DOTC Assistant Secretary for Planning Sherielysse Bonifacio said, “Today’s event also allows us to pursue further cooperative work in the transportation sector that will enhance regional cohesion and provide higher quality of life for the people.”

In her speech, Assec Bonifacio also noted the full ratification of the ASEAN open skies agreements last April 15, 2016. The open skies agreements consist of a set of multilateral agreements on liberalization of air freight and passengers services. She emphasized that under the agreements, there will be greater regional and domestic air transport connectivity which has a multiplier effect to the economy of the Member States.

“Increased connectivity has a multiplier effect. It will result to more impressive growth in the aviation industry, the tourism sector, as well as in other businesses. Thus, the full ratification of the ASEAN open skies is a victory not only for us in the ASEAN transportation sector but for the whole ASEAN. Its full impact will resonate and will eventually be felt across the region, benefitting the economies of the member states,” Bonifacio said.

The ASEAN STOM works under the direction of the ASEAN Transport Ministers. It is the executive body that supervises, coordinates and reviews programmes and directions set by ASEAN Transport Ministers. The Senior Officials guide/oversee the activities of the Transport Working Groups under the economic and technical cooperation.

The Philippines will also chair the 42nd STOM and the 22nd ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting during the last quarter of the year.

The ASEAN is composed of the Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

ASEAN’s dialogue partners for this Meeting include the People’s Republic of China, the European Union (EU), Japan, Republic of Korea (ROK) and Russia

The 41st STOM will also open the door to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) for possible collaboration between ASEAN and UNESCAP in the future.

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