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Sunday, November 19, 2017 29° Partly sunny

A full agenda at ASEAN Summit

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By Florangel Rosario Braid

Again, we were the perfect hosts during the event of the year. We even created a special lane for ASEAN delegates at EDSA but this didn’t turn out to be such a good idea as it resulted in a heavy traffic jam. Many people had taken advantage of the two-day holiday last Monday and Tuesday and started leaving Manila Saturday for out of town.

Sunday’s gala dinner must have been so special that it drew praises from US President Trump. Our former CCP colleague Nes Jardin is such a perfectionist every cultural production he oversees becomes a noteworthy event. The barongs created by designer Albert Andrada were elegant and looked especially good on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who was welcomed like a pop star when he arrived at Clark. He took advantage of the free time before the Summit to visit a health center and a food chain. Announcing a landmark deal for migrant workers by the President during his opening address was just the right way to start the Summit. It was an issue close to the heart of everyone. It affects many member states which have a large labor force overseas, or are themselves hosts to migrants. It supports ASEAN’s goals of access to justice, rights, and mutual cooperation.

ASEAN must consider terrorism and other security issues as priority concerns, as well, he noted. According to Rohan Gunaratne, a terrorism expert, 2017 will be decisive year for the ISIS group which had shown its ability to plan, direct, recruit, and radicalize from abroad. Its propaganda making and online presence are formidable, and that as it continues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria, it will transform itself into a terrorist organization.

The Rohingya crisis will likewise be placed on the agenda as it is a humanitarian concern that needs a timely and appropriate response. ASEAN’s concerted pressure should be able to ensure that those who have sought refuge in Bangladesh should be allowed to return as citizens to Myanmar, their home country. Amnesty International likewise would like to see the human rights issue addressed. And women’s groups hope that the gender issues would be prioritized.

The business sector appeared to be well prepared in terms of a responsive agenda for collaboration. “Build, Build, Build dominated the business talks. The business summit opened with Aung San Suu Kyi, who invited the businessmen to visit Myanmar and to see how its economy had grown following the introduction of reforms. Joey Concepcion, Summit chair, announced the launch of the mentorship network for entrepreneurship. At both the Business summit and Open Markets forum where Russian Prime Minister Medvedev delivered the keynote address, there was recognition of the importance of strengthening and promoting inclusive opportunities for medium and small-scale industries (MSMEs). By 2025, MSMEs shall have been integrated into the ASEAN economy, businessman Barcelon noted. We did not know before that the best infrastructure is found in dictatorship countries and that the European Union is a better trading partner than the United States or China.

Someone had earlier said that both Duterte and Trump could have been brothers at an earlier life because they seem to share similar characteristics and perspectives on many issues. On the South China Sea, Trump had earlier volunteered to mediate in the sea dispute while Duterte said he would prioritize the Code of Conduct on the agenda. But later, Trump was mum on the South China Sea conflict and Duterte later said that he would not touch on the issue. “Let’s not waste lives over the sea conflict, he said, as it would mean going to war and this is not the time for aggression.” On the EJK or extrajudicial killings, Duterte said that he was sure that Trump won’t raise this concern. And indeed, there were no contentious issues raised; only compliments on a summit that was well organized.

Since its inception in 1967, ASEAN, had been primarily a political entity. But in late 2015, it decided to organize as an ASEAN Economic Community with its member states seeking to form a single market and production base for the free flow of goods, services, investments, and skilled labor within the region. Everyone is optimistic about its future because of the size of its population and its having a large consumer base. But it has also limitations. In politics as well as in business, its policy of non-interference and its ASEAN value of decision-making by consensus and compromise had prevented it from taking a firm stand on critical or controversial issues needing urgent response. There are other problems identified – such as the free flow of labor and removal of tariffs for agricultural products while the farm sector is still trying to diversify or become more efficient. a

My email, florangel.braid@gmail.com

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  • pinoynga

    After all the pomp and pageantry, and usual political make me feel good speeches, I can only hope and pray that something financially, socially, environmentally, and judicially beneficial produce come out of these ceremonies.

  • SUPERBI

    OSG misled, manipulated by PAGCOR Greed

    Earlier this month, the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, or OGCC, issued an important Opinion (sent to the Office of the Executive Secretary on 6 September 2017) which established an authoritative and resounding rebuttal of the earlier opinion issued by the Office of the Solicitor General with regard to the matter of online gaming.

    The OGCC Opinion included a scathing rebuke of PAGCOR for virtually manipulating the OSG to comply with its whim and try to support with “legal basis” its questionable and illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) program, which has actually wreaked havoc and caused uncertainty and turmoil in the local online gaming industry. Last year, PAGCOR arrogated authority to itself and wrested control of the very lucrative online gaming industry from other agencies, in the process imposing steep legal license fees. Whispers and grumblings among industry players tell of steep unofficial ‘enrolment fees’ as well.

    • Berdugo Katapang

      there is always an opportunity to commit corruption and that is being proven by the greediness of pagcor officials. they are taking advantage of being an administrator to lottery and legal gambling however they are still engaging in work that they should not be doing.,.

    • Kwak Kwak Kwak

      corruption and greed goes together. this is clear in how pagcor handles its business. we should make sure that all the dealings of pagcor are legal and that there is no room for corruption and greed. pagcor officials should always be reminded that they serve the people and not the people serving them

    • Lucas Temoteo

      we should not give pagcor a chance in continuing their greedy acts and corrupt practices. we should continue our vigilance over the acts of pagcor in hiding and justifying their corruption. we should pressure pagcor to always be transparent and clear in all their activities

    • Rey David

      pagcor must be consistently reminded that they are serving the people and the government. the government is the people and they are entitled to better services. how can the government support the people and its services if the money that is supposed to go to government goes to corruption

  • SUPERBI

    pagcor is continuously not supporting the anti corruption drive of the government and the president. it consistently tries to justify and hide its greed and corrupt acts even at the expense of some government agencies. it is clear that pagcor is trying to hide something. we should continue to pressure pagcor in to not involving in acts which they are not capable and not legally bound..//

    • Berdugo Katapang

      this is clearly greed on the part of pagcor and to justify that greed they are trying to get the opinion of any government agency to back them up. they are not contented on their current work but still trying to get supervision over something which is not legal and where they will not be able to regulate

    • Kwak Kwak Kwak

      online gambling is simply not in the function of pagcor and can be used to further expand their greed and their corrupt practices. we should make sure that pagcor does not abuse its authority and supervision. we should always be critical to pagcors greed and in making sure that they support our president in his anti corrupt acts,.//

    • Lucas Temoteo

      pagcor officials should be investigate. their lifestyle should be checked and if found that they are involved in corruption they should be replaced immediately. our president does not approve of corruption and they should follow the example of the president..//,//

    • Rey David

      we need government agencies that will be able to deliver for the government funds needed for projects that will improve the lives of the people. pagcor has the funds however they are operating outside of their legal function and we are not sure if all their earnings are being returned to the government
      .,//