PIA 5 holds ASEAN Multi-Sectoral Forum in Legazpi City

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LEGAZPI CITY (PIA) – In order to educate and raise public awareness on the relevance of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Bicol regional office held an ASEAN Regional Multi-Sectoral Forum today at Hotel St. Ellis in Legazpi City.

The forum was attended by representatives of the regions many social sectors like the youth, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community, the indigenous people, and the business community. The objective of the gathering was to discuss the concerns of the community with its corresponding focal person and to explain its relevance with the ASEAN.

To establish the ASEAN significance early on during the forum, the ASEAN rational was discussed first by the PIA Sorsogon Information Centre Manager Benilda Recebido. In her talk, she explained the background of the ASEAN integration and globalization.

“It is of great importance that we know more about the ASEAN because every member state has a lot to offer, we have a lot of resources from tourism to trade,” said ICM Recebido.

As she visualized in her talk, if ASEAN was a nation, it would rank third in terms of economy in the entire Asia and ranked seventh in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) in the entire world, with an average economic growth rate of five to six percent.

“ASEAN speaks with one voice. And because of what it offers to the world, it wields influence and is being listened to. It gained the world’s respect because of its achievements,” added the ICM.

Recebido also revealed that the Philippines has always been highly regarded in the ASEAN and looked up to in leadership. Thus, after the recent efforts done by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in strengthening diplomatic relations with our neighboring countries, the Philippines was awarded the chairmanship of the ASEAN and has been chosen as the this year’s host in its 50th year anniversary.

According to the ICM, this year’s ASEAN theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World” reflects the Philippine government’s advocacy to promote unity with and among ASEAN member states and its global partners. It invites everyone to become dynamic and vibrant allies towards a prosperous future.

During the multi-sectoral forum heads of relevant government offices were invited to talk and answer questions from the participants on the programs and actions taken by the government on current social concerns.

First among the invited speakers was Regional Director Agnes Espinas of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) of the Bicol region. In her discussion, she tackled the present issues on the socio-economic system and the country’s preparedness on the economic integration with the ASEAN.

Regional Director Arnel Garcia of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also participated in the discussions as the authority in the field of social protection. In the forum, Director Garcia featured the many programs and accomplishments of DSWD and on how the country could be proud of it as a member of the ASEAN.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also took part in the forum, as represented by DTI-Bicol’s Chito Aguilar standing in for Regional Director Jocelyn L.B. Blanco. Aguilar talked and answered queries from the participants about the means of improving business and economy, particularly in uplifting the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in the region.

Throughout the multi-sectoral forum, those in attendance engaged in many meaningful discussions, much to the delight of the supporters of the initiative from the local government and by PIA’s Deputy Director General Gregorio Angelo Villar.

“Today highlight is on how the different programs of the government, like social protection and economy, would inter connect and converge through the efforts of our ASEAN advocacies. This is important to us Filipinos as this is definitely something to be proud of,” said DDG Villar.(MAL/JBE-PIA5/Albay)
Source: Philippine Information Agency (Bicol)

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