Bicolanos positive of ASEAN Summit gains

By Connie Destura

LEGAZPI CITY -- Bicolanos from all walks of life have a positive outlook of the ongoing 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings, emphasizing the country's gains in tourism, environment, economy and security.

Cristina Agapita Pacres, Legazpi City tourism officer, said strengthening ties between ASEAN member states and powerful nations like Japan, India, US, Russia and China opens doors for economic growth not only on the business aspect but will boost tourism development in the region as well.

She added that the ongoing summit is helping the Philippines promote economic ties with neighboring countries which will result to more business opportunities and at the same time lure more foreign visitors.

Ken Tabuena, a student from Bato, Catanduanes, said the Philippine economy and tourism will grow hand in hand.

He also cited the Filipino designers who were given the chance to create and craft modern Filipiniana outfits for the world leaders would acknowledge the skills of Filipino designers.

"We should also be proud that we are hosting this monumental event in its golden year. ASEAN continually helps to pursue equality and pushing boundaries to further strengthen the economic ties between countries (sic)," Tabuena added.

Nong Rangasa, Local Climate Change Adaptation for Development (LCCAD) executive director, for his part, said the interests of the people should be the main concern right now as member nations move forward towards a stronger ASEAN Community.

He said ASEAN’s bold vision of attaining and achieving free flow of quality of goods, services, investment, and skilled labor in the region can directly help the country achieve higher productivity and economic diversification with the right action, adaptation policies and program of activities.

“As we continue to forge stronger support and collaboration to address the greatest threats to our respective nations and the region as a whole -- terrorism, global warming and climate change -- we must ensure and build on the increased competencies and capacities of our people and local communities to address and contribute towards our goal of fostering equitable and progressive sustainable economic development across the region,” Rangasa said.

“As an ASEAN Community, we want an integrated, recalibrated, peaceful, stable and sustainable community. But much work needs to be done in order that this community that we all seek to build will be better and relevant and will help usher in a better life for all the people in the region,” he added.

Col. Perfecto Penaredondo, former Brigade commander in Albay, said he expects the summit to be smooth sailing and substantive in terms of enabling ASEAN member states achieve collective and respective national objectives.

Police Superintendent Marlo Menese said: "Sana mag-cooperate ang mga kababayan natin to sacrifice a little inconvenience (traffic, restrictions of movement, etc.) resulting from this summit. Any positive result in business, economics, environmental/climate change, risk reduction, human rights, terrorism issues, among others, from this meeting will benefit each and every Filipino".

"Also, any good reception we gave to each and every leader will likewise benefit our OFWs working in their respective countries. If our OFWs are treated well, they earn and remit or inject more money to our economy," Meneses added.

Jocelyn Atos, a mother from Legazpi City, said, "the ASEAN Summit is in Manila yet the impact or the result would benefit the entire country. We must support our government if we want change."

Meanwhile, Christine Villanueva, a teacher from Davao City who has now made Albay and Masbate her home, said: "The government is doing what's best for us. The ASEAN summit would boost our economy and it would generate more jobs, not just here but also with the member nations. (PNA)