SAN ISIDRO, Davao Oriental--- “I am convinced that a more united ASEAN has concrete effects on us and our lives.”
Interior and Local Government Regional Director Alex Roldan said during his keynote address during the ASEAN 2017 Landmark Lighting at the Mt. Hamiguitan World Heritage Park located at the foot of Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in San Isidro, Davao Oriental.
San Isidro, Davao Oriental was one of the 76 local government units participating in the ASEAN landmark lighting project highlighting in the Philippine chairmanship of the ASEAN 2017 that fell on the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN on August 8.
Standing before the crowd of congressional, provincial and municipal government officials of Davao Oriental, regional heads of national line agencies, among other invited guests, Roldan enumerated the far-reaching advantages of the integration of countries in the Southeast Asia.
He also allayed fears of “losing” opportunities as the Philippines opens up borders and expands trade and labor exchanges with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“Of course there are drawbacks about that,” but he said “the opportunities in this endeavour is far more profound and far-reaching than the risks,” he added.
In his talk, Roldan expounded the benefits of ASEAN integration while citing the fact that many Filipinos have heard of ASEAN but “are not aware what’s in it for us.”
Among the benefits of ASEAN integration he mentioned was the “exchange of knowledge, education and job opportunities” on top of the “relaxed travel regulations within member countries”, giving wider chances for peoples in Southeast Asia to interact with each other .
Roldan also pointed out that the integration of countries in Southeast Asia would trigger free flow of goods and that this would result in lower cost of living as “taxes would be more uniformed and low, thus reducing production costs of goods and services”.
He revealed efforts of ASEAN to allow service providers to “set up companies across borders” and to increase foreign investments “by removing restrictions and adopting international best practices”.
Citing this free flow and wide exchanges of goods and services in ASEAN, Roldan said “we will have more options, we have more choices”. (Jeanevive D. Abangan, PIA 11)