by Christine F. Godinez Ortega, Office of Publication and Information (OPI)
The MSU-IIT Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol urged everyone to be culturally sensitive in his/her engagement with the multi-cultural ASEAN nations even as he emphasized collaborations within its member-nation institutions during the ASEAN University Forum at the Gymnasium on May 10, 2017.
The ASEAN university forum, a brainchild of the OVCRE Department of Extension Director, Dr. Darwin J. Manubag was meant to disseminate information about ASEAN, and to make people aware of the ASEAN’s many opportunities that anyone can avail of using ASEAN’s three pillars towards regional security and prosperity through security of its borders, economic, and socio-cultural factors.
The Chancellor talked of the responsibility of MSU-IIT in developing quality laborers, workers and professionals to be globally competitive. As a social scientist, Tanggol spoke of his observations of the cultural diversity of ASEAN especially of the countries he had visited like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Durassalam. He said if the country’s national hero Jose Rizal is considered a Malayan hero, it behooves on the peoples of ASEAN to be culturally sensitive like the Indonesians who live in a multi-cultural setting.
The City’s Vice Mayor Jomar Vera Cruz representing the City Mayor’s Office, in his opening statement during the forum said everyone should spread the worldview of ASEAN by enhancing one’s knowledge about ASEAN, and by pointing out about the need to move towards poverty reduction through economic prosperity for all, “where no one is left behind”.
A number of speakers from various government agencies also spoke during the forum. MSU-IIT alumnus and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Harold Clavite expressed delight over the establishment of an Info Kiosk located close to the MSU-IIT entrance gate.
He said the Info kiosk in MSU-IIT is the 50th in the country and the first of its kind in a university setting which he considered as an important milestone. Info kiosks in other areas of the country are located in airports, bus terminals, malls, LGUs and offices of Mayors. The info kiosks contain brochures, flyers, etc. about the projects of government and about ASEAN according to Clavite.
The Philippine Information Agency’s (PIA) Director for ASEAN International Relations Committee Belina SB. Capul gave an overview of ASEAN and impressed upon the audience the significant position of the Philippines in the strengthening of ties between the other nine member-nations of ASEAN.
The Director of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) of Region 10, Mae Ester T. Guiamadel and the Director of the Department of Trade and Industry of Region 10, Linda O. Boniao both talked about “a better life” for the ASEAN region, the desire of most Filipinos during a recent survey by NEDA.
Guiamadel said the survey revealed that Filipinos want to live happy, long lives through better government services in health, housing, education, transportation, and to get better wages in order to have a comfortable lifestyle, to travel and to have a secure future.
She said that the goal of government is to create a middle class society where no one is poor. She also extolled each one to do his/her part in helping accelerate human development by asking the youth to be responsible, to acquire knowledge and to keep good values, to be healthy and productive, to care for the environment, to take part in the advances in science and innovation, and to be competitive to result in “a global Filipino”.
She realized the need to disseminate information to all sectors in order to take part in the change that all Filipinos are aspiring for.
Boniao echoed the need for all Filipinos to be competitive since the Philippines is now the fastest growing economy among ASEAN nations. She encouraged the audience to know about ASEAN and its cultures and to be aware of the economic prospects and opportunities within ASEAN by outlining the “aces” of the Philippines in terms of education, in business, and in marine engineering and to take advantage of employment opportunities in service industries such as in health, tourism, vocational and technology, call centers and in language tutorials.
In his concluding remarks, Manubag said all should be “ASEAN ready” by taking on an ASEAN consciousness to begin on campus and make this resonate to the community, to have mutual respect among the peoples of ASEAN. He said all should benefit from the economic boom expected during this wave of optimism created by ASEAN members that have endeavored to be united or to become one to face new challenges in a globally-competitive world like ours.