By Roi Lomotan
Increased trade, investment and job generation, equitable access for opportunities and human rights, a comprehensive security for the entire region – these are just some of the benefits brought by the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to the Philippines.
This year, it’s the country’s turn to host ASEAN summits and other related meetings. The Philippines’s hosting of ASEAN coincides with its 50th anniversary.
To raise awareness on the benefits ASEAN could bring to the Filipino people, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) set up Information Kiosks in major areas of convergence such as seaports, airports, other passenger terminals and malls in the city.
PIA-Negros Oriental launched its own information Kiosk recently at Robinson’s Place Dumagete attended by PIA OIC Regional Director Fayette Rinen, City Mayor Felipe Remollo, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) – Dumaguete Regional Consular Office Officer in Charge (OIC) Tita Rebollos, Department of Trade and Industry OIC Dr. Angeline Gonzales, other heads of government agencies, private sector representatives, local media, students and some shoppers.
Available in the kiosk are information materials about ASEAN and also on tourism and other government programs.
Some residents of the city are already looking forward to the opportunities under ASEAN which they can utilize.
Judith Senerol, a member of the Kalipunan ng mga Liping Pilipina (KALIPI) in Dumaguete City which is a women’s group affiliated with the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), hopes that with the ASEAN economic integration, they would be able to have more access to livelihood programs.
“We are very happy to attend this. Officials from DTI and other government agencies were able to impart to us new information. We already have some livelihood programs for women (here) but we hope this would bring us more livelihood opportunities,” Senerol said.
On the other hand, St. Paul University Dumaguete (SPUD) student Gerald Saliwag also hopes that with the strengthening of cooperation between the ten-member states of ASEAN, there will be more employment opportunities for students like him.
“It says after I graduate, there will be opportunities for me like jobs, etc. not only here in the Philippines but also in other ASEAN countries,” Saliwag said.
Another SPUD student, Nikki Gonzales, who is taking up a tourism course, believes that ASEAN will help boost the country’s tourism industry by promoting it to other ASEAN member-states.
DTI-OIC Gonzales explained during the activity that the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which focuses on the regional economic integration results to freer flow of goods, services, capital and people and economic development.
“What does AEC mean? Kawawa ba ang Pilipinas? AEC means opportunity for ASEAN, its members and its people. AEC compels each member to think big and look beyond their borders. Through the AEC, the PH 100 million consumers expand to over 600 million, its playing field multiplies to 10 countries and more it’s size and network widened,” Gonzales said.
“It means more business options. Businesses to diversify investments or choose to expand to market overseas,” she added.
DTI is one of the partners of PIA in this endeavor and shared some of its instruction, educational and communication materials on its programs for the public to read.
Meanwhile, the DTI official together with other stakeholders who participated in the launching event commended PIA for installing an information kiosk at the said mall.
“There are a lot of things I’ve learned. It helps students to raise awareness,” Saliwag said.
“We will share what we learned today to other women who are part of KALIPI in Dumaguete City so that they will know how they can benefit from ASEAN,” Senerol added.
The PIA Info Kiosk at Robinson’s Place in Dumaguete was the first info kiosk under the jurisdiction of PIA-7 to be installed in a mall.
Shoppers are invited to drop by at the booth and avail of the information materials displayed there. (rmn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental)