KUALA LUMPUR—As ASEAN celebrates its 50th founding anniversary, 2017 marks an opportune time to reflect on what ASEAN has achieved over the past five decades and what it seeks to accomplish ahead.
Speaking at the ASEAN@50 Conference in Kuala Lumpur on 4 August before an assembly of audience representing various stakeholders, ASEAN 2017 Economic Ministers chairman and Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that collaboration and communication are two essential elements to keep ASEAN moving.
“The region has to focus on two Cs, Collaboration and Communication. By engaging multi-stakeholders, ASEAN develops a win-win solution in ensuring that economic opportunities will be equitably felt by all ASEAN citizens,” he said.
Since its inception in 1967, the 10-member regional organization has transformed into a global economic powerhouse, with a population of 622 million and has become one of the world’s fastest growing investment destinations.
ASEAN’s total trade increased by USD 700 billion between 2007 and 2015, with intra-ASEAN trade comprising the largest share. In 2015, ASEAN attracted USD 121 billion of FDI with intra-ASEAN constituting the largest share of inflows. .
Sec. Lopez said that ASEAN should aim to communicate its programs and priorities to the ASEAN citizens, providing them with the right platform to know how they can contribute to the region’s growth story.
“Our communication must be sustained and intensified if we want to reap the benefits of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), working towards a deeper regional integration in 2025,” he added.
The trade chief made reference to the ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together as a forward-looking roadmap to prepare the region in the next phase of evolvement, and which charts the pathway for strengthening the ASEAN Community over the next 10 years.
As one of the three pillars of the ASEAN Community, the AEC is a realization of ASEAN’s goal to have an integrated and prosperous economic region with a single market–where there is free movement of goods, services and investments.
“ASEAN’s continuing economic transformation remains an example of how regional integration and cooperation is plausible despite challenges and diversity in size, geography, political background, and culture,” the trade chief said.
AEC reflects connectedness and translates diversity into strength as ASEAN’s variety becomes a source of attraction to global investors, mindful of the region’s stake in open global markets.
According to Sec. Lopez, promoting complementation and cooperation is at the heart of ASEAN integration efforts. Closer trade and enhanced economic cooperation, combined with continued engagement with Dialogue Partners, provides the region with a solid platform to continuously bolster the region’s growth and promote complementation of domestic reforms among Member States.
ASEAN has also become a significant link to the international community because of the dynamism and the huge potential it offers to the world.
“We have engaged our major trading partners namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand in free trade agreements, negotiating as a single ASEAN entity rather than as individual economies discussing bilateral trade arrangements,” Sec. Lopez added.
In 2013, ASEAN initiated negotiations for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which aims to expand the current ASEAN market to a huge integrated market of 3.5 billion with its six Dialogue Partners China, Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and India.
Sec. Lopez also took the opportunity to present the Philippine agenda as the current ASEAN chair. Under the inclusive, innovation-led growth theme, the country is poised to champion the development and internationalization of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with key strategic measures to increase trade and investment, integrate MSMEs in global value chains and pursue an innovation-led economy.
“ASEAN continues to develop into a pivotal marketplace with its relatively young, growing labor force and emerging middle class,” he said, adding that ASEAN has transformed into a community of dramatic diversity and manifold opportunities.
The Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC), the training arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), recently conducted a total of 23 free seminars geared towards enhancing MSME’s managerial and technological capabilities during SME Week held on July 18-19, 2017 at the PTTC grounds.
With the theme “Moving Towards Skilled, Market-Driven and Engaged MSMEs”, the two-day event was attended by about 367 MSMEs. After participating in the UREKA Forum, 24 signed up for Shopinas, an online store of Philippine products, and an additional 15 after attending the seminar on “Doing Business in E-marketplaces.”
This positive response from the MSMEs is an indication that by providing them free and easy access to information, entrepreneurs are ready and willing to digitize their business. As DTI Assistant Secretary Rosvi C. Gaetos emphasized in her opening remarks, “PTTC’s role and commitment in providing various training programs is to help MSMEs catapult into the global markets with the overarching goal of transforming them into global business entrepreneurs”.
Asst. Secretary Gaetos also said that MSMEs act as the nursery and breeding ground of entrepreneurship and innovation, significantly contributing to employment and livelihood which account to a major share of industrial growth in exports.
Earlier last week, Auza.Net accepted the challenge to bring Bohol’s favorite FM station Kiss 102.3 FM to the world via live audio streaming on the web. The company brings in the experience of implementing the DYRD-AM Worldwide broadcast for the last 9 years. The new website www.kiss102fmbohol.com will be officially launched on May 1, 2017. Test broadcast is currently on-going.
Mr. Jerome Auza of Auza.Net and Mr. Peter Dejaresco of Kiss 102.3 FM sealed the partnership and are both excited to finally stream the live broadcast of the FM station on it’s own website. On the roadmap is the implementation of a mobile app for the streaming service, as well as integration with social media sites.
Auza said that the project was implemented in record time in order to be available for the May 1 festivities during the Tagbilaran Fiesta. The on-the-job trainees of the Auza.Net assisted Auza in the implementation of the project. The setup involved using a virtual private server in Singapore and US to provide for the bandwidth needed to implement the online broadcast. The setup is very similar to one for DYRD-AM Worldwide broadcast.
TAGBILARAN CITY, March 11, (PIA)—So what’s with a woman in the elite police force?
There must have something that toughened this frail girl in a brood of four from a remote barangay in Buenavista, Bohol to let her squeeze through hardships as they fall one by one the moment she wears the bulletproof vest of prayer and determination.
The name Arlene Manatad is just like any ordinary Boholano name.
At 27, and a single parent to an 8 year old girl, this innocent looking face and disarming smile is a woman’s taser. But her normal build masks a core toughness that makes Arlene Manatad a name whispered among the elites of Bohol police force.
She has just crossed over the fence of the frail woman image to be honored as the first and only woman member of the elite police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in Bohol.
Said to be the toughest test of physical fitness and agility, mental and spiritual strength among elite police officer’s trainings, SWAT commissioning have been notoriously called the most physically rigorous and mentally straining activity for 77 days of police life.
But for Police Officer 2 Manatad, the pain and the strain are just hurdles towards her determined goal to bring the woman earn its rightful equal footing, with the men.
Born on June 4, 1989 as the youngest in a brood of four, three of them boys, Arlene traces her playgrounds in remote barangay in Lusong, Buenavista town. Their father works as the barangay captian and sallies back and forth with works at the National Grid Corporation while her mother does the child rearing and the housework.
For her, being alone to fend off for herself is never new: she has to walk from her barangay to the nearby elementary school in Lubang, and to stay in a boarding house in Getafe for her secondary schools. By the time she was ripe for college, she opted to sail across to Cebu and studied Bachelor of Science major in Criminology at the University of Cebu. Alone.
A class mate in college, whom she would have to be forced to marry, got her pregnant. Four days after her marriage, her husband left them and would show up again later in her life.
When ladies of less temper would have surrendered to the bad fate, she continued her school while nursing the baby and keeping them eating square meals in economically challenging Cebu.
By December 1, 2010, she was accepted in the police force after passing the board, at that time, her estranged husband showed up to seek favors, but having survived after he abandoned them, she has had enough.
Her first assignment was at the Cebu Provincial Police Office, but desk work bores her that she decided to barge into the world of men in the police force: the Regional Public Safety Battalion.
There she showed what a woman can do in a world dominated by testosterone: become intelligence chief among Alpha ones.
To prove she still has a fight left in her, she jumped into the chance to train into the anti-insurgency police force: the PNP Scouts.
Along with 2000 at the trainings, Arlene was said to be the youngest but was the source of inspiration among women in the training camp.
“I was the youngest but I hand to be the mother taking care of the women who feel too tired to go on,” she beamed.
For that, she said she felt lucky to be among the 264 police officers accepted.
And that plus her precise operational skills endeared her to the elder SWAT: she was often borrowed to infiltrate anti-drug and anti- crime ring operations.
After completing years of meritorious service for Cebu, PO2 Arlene requested for transfer, where the SWAT and RPSB take turns using her skill and intelligence gathering skills in operations, enough to push her to finally officially join the SWAT training in Bohol.
Of the 4 women in the 72 who started training in November, PO2 Manatad flew through the hurdles, grimacing but the pain paid off when she finished among the top ten in a graduating class of 64.
“The training was hard but what was harder was when my father left us and my mother for another woman in 2012,” she bared.
But, if it had to happen, it should, she finally hinted.
Already whetted by the abrasive stones of trails, the acid test of endurance in trainings and the firm resolve to fight it out; nails and teeth, when life hands a dirty deal, living as a woman, mother and a crime-buster for PO2 Arlene Manatad has always been a multi-tasking feat.
“Of course, life is tough, she hints, but with the playing fields now expanding for women to get on the arena, all one needs is to commit to the tasks at hand and never give up,” she advised.
“As women, we should never be afraid to stand for our rights,” she stressed.
We are not alone. We have agencies that are there to help us, she capped.
That statement etched an image in our minds, “fix eyes to the target, breathe, relax, aim and shoot.”
It could have been PO2 Manatad’s unspoken motto.
She is an undisputed sharpshooter, co SWAT graduates proudly told us. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)
Fixing the eyes to the crosshairs, breathe, relax, aim, squeeze and shoot. PO2 Arlene Manatad shares what being a woman is in a world brimming with testosterone. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)
Everything starts with a dream and a strong commitment, Gov. Edgar Chatto addressed Information Technology Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry experts and Boholano government, business, academe stakeholders at the three-part forum that was the 5th Visayas ICT Organization (VICTOr) conference, 1st Bohol Education Summit, and 3rd Visayas Creative Congress this week.
The governor along with Usec. Monchito Ibrahim of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) signed commitment to support Bohol’s bid to become IT-BPM investment haven.
He affixed his signature along with Bohol ICT industry stakeholders in pursuing the IT-BPM industry specific 2017 Education Action Plan.
The gathering of industry experts and stakeholders focused on effective talent development and was aimed at linking education and industry needs in order for Bohol to become a major player in the industry, alongside initiatives to meet requirements on infrastructure and business environment.
The education and industry linkage replicates bridging models for already established economic pillars of tourism and agriculture in the province.
The IT BPM industry specific Education Action Plan for 2017 is comprised of priority programs such as faculty development/industry immersion, curriculum development, equipment and facility improvement and center of excellence/development certification.
Its activities include trainings, industry partnerships, establishment of a business incubator, and accomplishing requirements for center of excellence/development certification as part of achieving academic roadmap to support IT BPM industry needs.
The 2-day conference featured industry best practices through sharing from Visayas ICT councils particularly about strategies on opening up the ICT industry in the province. It also highlighted the Philippine IT BPM roadmap 2022, talent development strategies, cybersecurity and governance with particular spotlight on Bohol.
Industry experts included Stephanie Rosalinde Caragos-president of the National ICT Councils of the Philippines, Dan Reyes-president of the IT Business Process Association of the Philippines, Jonathan de Luzuriaga-president of the Philippine Software Industry Association, Penny Bongato-Talent Development Executive Director of IBPAP, Breyvan Tan-managing director of EC Council Singapore.
It also presented creative industries sharing from Alvin Juban-Game Development Association of the Philippines president, JD Abenaza-CEO of Zeenoh Games, John Dave Duenas-Manager of the Technology Business Incubator Center in Bacolod City, Xteve Abanto-Concept artist and Creative Director of 13Headz Studios, and Genesis Rana-founder of UV New School.
According to Dan Reyes, the IT industry brings in $22billion in revenue with over 1.1 million employed and another 1.5 million unique online workers in the country.
The Philippines has over 650+ IT BPM companies, making it the biggest employer next to government and also holds the distinction of being the contact center destination of the world, he reported.
Bohol ICT Council Lai Biliran stated the conference builds on the gains of Bohol being in the limelight of the digital landscape with the launch of Digital Bohol last year and the holding of major IT conferences such as Geeks on the Beach, (Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN16). (Leah&Jasmine/EDCOM)