TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The government has targeted US$50 million in investment for two years from Philippine businessmen in the maritime sector. â€śWe will give them the space and cooperate with them so that the fish are processed here,â€ť said Maritime and Fishery Affairs Minister Fadel Muhammad at Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, yesterday.
Disputes over fish often occur between the two countries. According to Fadel, many Philippine fishermen are caught. As many as 202 Philippine fishermen have been detained, while 77 have been released. Another 34 people are currently detained.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Fadel said, wanted the issue be resolved in and economic manner under a comprehensive solution. â€śInstead of arresting them all the time, why donâ€™t we make an economic cooperation?â€ť he said.
Concerning foreign fishermen caught when passing the Indonesian border, Fadel said they would be repatriated.
The cooperation with the Philippines, said Fadel, was the continuation of a cooperation which has been carried out since 2006. The government has prepared a space for fishery business in Gorontalo, Manado, Ternate and Ambon. â€śWe asked them to open a business and provide the area to them,â€ť he said.
President Yudhoyono hopes the cooperation in the fishery sector will continue, especially when both countries have sufficient maritime potential. Trade between Indonesia and the Philippines reached US$ 3.89 billion in 2010, up from $2.9 billion in 2009.
EKO ARI WIBOWO