By Jennifer Catan-Tilos
Opportunities and benefits of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were discussed recently during the second leg of the Philippine Information Agency’s “Ugnayan: A Dialogue for Progress” in Dumaguete City.
PIA Director General Harold Clavite said the opening of employment prospects in neighboring countries and visa-free travel are some of the advantages that the ASEAN brings for its citizens.
Clavite stressed that the objective of organizing the ASEAN community and with economic cooperation and regional integration is to improve the lives of its people.
The Ugnayan or ASEAN multi-sectoral forum intends to gather support to the Philippines’ chairmanship of the 50th ASEAN summit this year.
For her part, as one of the speakers of Staff Director Belina Capul of PIA explained that some 117 meetings that would take place in the different cities and provinces in the country where leaders, foreign ministers, and representatives of the ASEAN’s Technical Working Groups will talk on how to better improve the regional cooperation.
Capul said this year’s ASEAN will celebrate its 50th anniversary with the theme: “Partnering for change, Engaging the world” with Philippines holding the Chairmanship in accordance with the regular rotation among member states.
The ASEAN 10-member states include Brunei Darrusalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam.
Clavite said the ASEAN region is one of the most promising when it comes to economy.
“Right now, we are the seventh largest economy i-combine ang GDP sa ASEAN ika- pito sa tibuok kalibutan and by 2050 gi project na siya nga ika-upat nga pinakadako nga ekonomiya sa tibuok kalibutan surpassing many other countries in the world,” Clavite said.
Capul also discussed about the positive impact of the ASEAN and how it will open up opportunities of economic, political, cultural, and security cooperation among its ten members.
Other issues discussed include benefits and challenges of the Freedom of Information and National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) Ambisyon Natin 2040 that highlights the Philippine government’s long-term mission and vision for the Filipino people and the country in the next 25 years.
The event is participated in by more than 120 sector representatives in the province which include local and national government unit officials, information officers, non-governmental organizations, members of the local media, and students.
In closing, Clavite also emphasized the need for community influencers and other communication networks to raise public awareness on how each Filipino can participate in and benefit from the programs and services of the government.
“While Filipinos are the biggest social media users, we have to be reminded ourselves to be responsible on the information we disseminated so as not to create irrelevant news or fake news but take the opportunity to empower the people,” he said.
The forum was graced by Dumaguete City mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo; Officer in Charge-Regional Director Fayette Riñen of PIA7; Regional Director of NEDA7 Efren B. Carreon; Staff Director of PIA Belina SB. Capul; Presidential Communications Operations Office representative Michelle Arianne M. Manza; Silliman University president Ben S. Malayang III; and Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Edward Du. (jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental with reports from Angelica Mae D. Gomez)