ASEAN INTEGRATION | Campus forum in Butuan City gives students a glimpse of diplomacy

May 12, 2017 - 8:46 PM
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Forum on ASEAN integration
Gregorio Angelo Villar, PIA deputy director general, explains the importance of disseminating information about ASEAN integration, especially among students. Erwin M. Mascariñas, News5-InterAksyon

Butuan City – An estimated 300 students from five of the biggest colleges here on Thursday, May 11, 2017, attended the ASEAN Campus Forum highlighting the benefits of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration at the Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU).

The forum was held to boost the government’s education and information campaign on ASEAN integration.

A large delegation also came from Saint Joseph Institute of Technology (SJIT). Other schools who attended the forum included Philippine Electronics And Communication Institute Of Technology (PECIT) and Caraga State University (CSU).

Butuan students forum on ASEAN integration
Students attending the forum fill up the CBE Hall at the Father Saturnino Urios University. Erwin M. Mascariñas, News5-InterAksyon

The forum was spearheaded by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) as part of the Philippine chairmanship of the ASEAN summit. It was the second of the planned series of forums for multisectoral communities throughout the country.

Gregorio Angelo Villar, deputy director general of the PIA who graced the event, stated that the ASEAN Forum is just one of the many strategies of his agency to disseminate and promote the subject.

“The Philippines is hosting this year’s 50th ASEAN, and we might as well take advantage of this opportunity to help our fellowmen take active part in the activities of the ASEAN community. This will not only boost the country’s economy, but also the lives of the Filipino in the different regions,” said Villar.

Abner Caga, regional director of PIA in the Caraga Region, disclosed that an initial forum was conducted during the launch of the ASEAN Information Kiosk at Butuan City Domestic Airport last April 11.

“We are aiming to conduct several more, around 10, here in Caraga Region, to reinforce everyone’s knowledge about our role and benefits in ASEAN integration,” said Caga.

Caga explained that, the FSUU Campus forum helped open opportunities for graduating students to become productive individuals in ASEAN.”

Among the topics tackled in the forum were: Employment and Pre-employment issues from the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board; HIV/AIDS and Teenage Pregnancy from the Department of Health; and Regional Development Plan from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and how it all fits into the bigger perspective of ASEAN and its member nations.

Joel Batiancila Jr, a student leader from Saint Joseph Institute of Technology (SJIT) commented: “It is important for students to understand the importance and relevance of ASEAN, especially for my course, which is marine transportation. It helps pave the way toward collaboration and cooperation with other neighboring countries.”

Val Ulyssis Coruña, 3rd year marketing major in the business administration at FSUU, said: “The discussion is important for our generation as future leaders and future managers. The productivity and economic development from ASEAN integration will be crucial not only for our country but for this region of ASIA.”