Creating Awareness of ASEAN Economic Community
The end of the current year 2015 will mark the beginning of the process for the integration of ASEAN Economic Community or AEC. It is a process that has caught the attention of the public, but it has also left many asking, “what does ASEAN economic integration mean?” The issue is too complex to be answered by high school students. Nevertheless a poster making contest and an essay writing contest was held at Pax et Lumen International Academy on what ASEAN is all about in order to create a basic awareness of this regional organization among its students and their families. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN was established in 1967 or almost 50 years ago by five Southeast Asian nations, namely: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Through the years and culminating in 1997 when ASEAN was 30 years old, the ASEAN became the ASEAN 10 with the entry of Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. These ten ASEAN members are now working on having unified regulations and standards to guide its economic areas of activity: customs, banking, investments, education, taxation, etc. This is basically what economic integration means. For the ASEAN writing contest on what ASEAN is, the following HS students were given the following awards First Place- Kyle Gabriel Garcia (Grade 8), Second Place- Portia Margarita Simsuangco, (Grade 8), Third Place- Ana Victoria Sandique (Grade 7). For the ASEAN poster making contest, the winners were: First Place- Chantilie Punzalan, (Grade 9), Second Place- Jean Andrei Ander, (Grade 8), Third Place- Francis Ivan Cunanan (Grade 8). The ASEAN Contest was made possible by the Philippine ASEAN Secretariat in Manila. The awardees received ASEAN medals and Certificates of Recognition given by the Philippine ASEAN Secretariat under the Director General for ASEAN Philippines, Ambassador Luis Cruz. The winners were also given four pieces of the Central Bank’s commemorative currency (Philippine fifty peso-notes) with the ASEAN logo on it. The commemorative booklet of currency was signed by the Honorable Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario. In 2017, ASEAN will mark its 50th anniversary. During that year, the Philippines will have the honor to host the ASEAN Summit during which the heads of governments of the ten ASEAN member countries will visit the Philippines for a summit meeting to set the agenda of ASEAN for the next decade as well as to strengthen measures to make the economic integration of ASEAN stronger.