TAGBILARAN CITY, Nov. 27 (PIA) -- The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) laid down the benefits and opportunities that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) brings to various sectors in the province of Bohol on Friday.
Usec. Lorraine Marie Badoy, head of new media and external affairs of PCOO, led the second leg of the ASEAN Awareness Forum held at the Pavilion of Bellevue Resort in Panglao island on Nov. 22, 2019.
Badoy said having a stronger regional intergovernmental organization has allowed Filipinos to travel around nine ASEAN member-countries without the hassle of applying for a visa.
"It's already in place for you guys. Travel to ASEAN countries is so much easier. It's just like going to Cebu or Manila that you don't need a visa and you guys need to travel to see the world to have a bigger view of your role in life," the PCOO official said.
Badoy lauded the active participation of the different sectors, especially the university students who will reap the benefits of being citizens of a member-nation.
"Because there are really very important goals that you can meet as a region together. Like the European Union where countries are bonded together as a region so they become stronger economically and security aspect and all that. These are the hopes of ASEAN. We do it because of your generation," Badoy added.
The forum was attended by more than a hundred participants composed of students and professors from different colleges and universities in Bohol, information officers from the local government units and regional line agencies, tourism officers, and representatives from the business sector.
Usec. George A. Apacible, head of good governance, government-owned and -controlled corporations and finance of PCOO, in his closing remarks said the Philippines' active participation in formulating policies in raising the awareness level of ASEAN programs has evolved due to the advent of information technology.
Apacible said the practice of holding an ASEAN meeting or summit after convening the technical working group has long changed with the inclusion of a massive information drive to educate the public about the benefits of being citizens of a member-nation.
He urged the Boholanos who attended the forum to learn more about ASEAN through the Internet.
Meanwhile, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) public relations specialist on ASEAN Grace Quarteros bared that apart from the convergence of travel that requires no visa in entering other member nations, the Philippines has also been able to push for the adoption of the South China Sea Code of Conduct, which is still being negotiated.
ASEAN, she said, is a region of 640 million people and the third largest in the world behind China and India.
It is also the fifth largest in the world and third in Asia when it comes to Gross Domestic Product and the fifth largest economy but is projected to become the fourth largest by 2030.
Also presented during the forum were ASEAN programs for marine biodiversity, tourism opportunities, and the regional organization's impact on the local economy.
The ASEAN Awareness Forum, jointly organized by PCOO and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), capped the 5th Meeting of the ASEAN SOMRI Working Group on Information, Media, and Training (WG-IMT) held at Bellevue Resort in Panglao island on Nov. 19 to 22, 2019. (ecb/PIA7-Bohol)