The Philippines, through the Department of Transportation (DOTr), will host the 42nd Senior Transport Officials Meeting (42nd STOM) and the 22nd ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting (22nd ATM).
The high-level meetings to be held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila from November 14 – 18, 2016 will gather transportation officials from the 10 ASEAN Member States. More than 200 transport officials and delegates will convene to discuss various transport initiatives and policies that will improve connectivity and enhance cooperation in the region.
The STOM leaders, working under the direction of the ASEAN Transport Ministers (ATM), are expected to review the implementation and establishment of transport agreements as set by the ATM. Among the projects to be discussed is the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan (KLTSP), which is the transport vision and blueprint for 2016 – 2025. The KLTSP, an important pillar of the ASEAN Economic Integration, aims to make the ASEAN community more integrated, competitive, and resilient.
Other transport initiatives to be discussed include the establishment of the ASEAN Single Shipping Market and the ASEAN Roll-on Roll-off Shipping Network, which are both designed to facilitate trade, reduce transport costs, and provide easier access to key markets in Southeast Asia through a more connected maritime transportation network. Liberalization of air services, building safer road networks and efficient railway systems, and promoting sustainable and green transport initiatives are also part of the agenda.
The ATM will convene from November 17 -18 and are expected to consider and adopt STOM recommendations.
China, Japan, and Korea are this year’s dialogue partners. Various ASEAN projects in cooperation with these countries will be discussed in separate sessions. Delegates from Russia will also be present in preparation for the ASEAN-Russia Transport Ministers Meeting next month.
Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade is this year’s ATM Chairman while Undersecretary for Administration and Finance Garry De Guzman will serve as STOM Chairman.
It can be remembered that just recently, President Rodrigo Duterte had instructed all major infrastructure agencies of the country, including the DOTr, to mark his term as the country’s “golden age for infrastructures,” and further directed these agencies to present the infrastructure plan of the Duterte administration. The Plan illustrated how the government will go about building more railways, urban mass transport, airports, seaports, more bridges and roads, and new and better cities, which in turn would further open the Philippines to a more seamless trade and connectivity with its neighboring countries.
The ASEAN is composed of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.