ASEAN to empower Filipinos down to the grassroots — PCOO exec

BAGUIO CITY-- The country's hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit may not immediately benefit Filipinos especially those outside Metro Manila and in areas outside the meeting venues but the gains of the country will definitely trickle down to everyone, even the grassroots.

Atty. Marie Rafael-Banaag, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary for Operations and Special Concerns, said "it would be something that will be felt by the ordinary people."

Banaag, who is visiting this city, said that for the whole of 2017, there will be 117 ASEAN meetings that will be conducted in different parts of the country.

The conventions which include ministers, cluster and state leaders' meetings will allow the country to showcase what it has. "Delegates from the ASEAN-member states including media from the said countries would see how the Philippines is, how it works and track the next steps," that will benefit the member states, said Banaag.

"They could learn from the Philippines and they can share the good practices to us," she added.

Banaag talked about the programs for the different sectors where the benefits of those in the sectors will emanate from. "Ito 'yun, dito kayo mag-benefit (this is the one. This is where you will benefit)," she said.

She admitted that the benefits will not be immediate or abrupt but the links to the programs that will be a result of the meetings will redound to the lowest sector.

Banaag cited as example the programs of the economic cluster. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), she said will allow those - including the student or fresh graduates - wanting to go into business to be connected with the same sector in the ASEAN-member states either for aid or for market links.

Teachers, she said, will also be greatly benefited considering the need of the other member countries for teachers - whom the Philippines has plenty of - who are English speaking and can teach their citizens.

Being the ASEAN's host country and with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as chairman, the Philippines will gain directly from the arrival of the delegates and a long term profit from the result of the meetings that are geared towards addressing the issues and concerns, and come up with solutions that are applicable to all the member states.

All departments in the national government are actively participating along with the PCOO in disseminating information about the ASEAN, the Philippines' hosting and what the people should know about it to allow them to appreciate being the host.

Information is cascaded to the people by the different government news and information portals including the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), People's Television (PTV), Radyo ng Bayan, RTVM and the Bureau of Communication Services (BCS).

Source: Philippines News Agency