Sunday, February 22, 2015

AEC 3: PCCI Muntinlupa Forum on ASEAN Integration

As December  31, 2015 comes closer, the implementation date of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), more public discussions are being held about the regional integration. Among such discussions was the one organized by the PCCI Muntinlupa chapter, in coordination with the Office of the Mayor of Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila. I was asked by a friend and fellow Rotarian Baby Bunye, who is a member of PCCI, to attend and do the synthesis of the forum.

It was a good and  big forum, with speakers  not only from Muntinlupa but also from some trade and tourism experts, from foreign chambers.

Before the forum officially started, PCCI invited several groups from the city. (1) Doxology was led by two bright and young singers from STI Alabang, they sang "Our Prayer." Really nice voices. (2) Entrance of colors was done by Lyceum ROTC Cadets. (3) National anthem and Muntinlupa March led and sang by Himig Muntinlupa Choir, and (4) ballet performance, three numbers/dances by Southernside Montessori School. Great performance by these young people, about 20 of them perhaps, I enjoyed it.

Program MCs were Emily de Leon of Filinvest Muntinlupa, and Joseph Chanco of Voice of the South paper. The President of PCCI Muntinlupa gave the opening remarks. Elvie is a fantastic and dynamic lady. Aside from being the President of the local Chamber, she is also a Rotary Club President, General Manager of Vivere Hotel, and several other civic and corporate engagements.

Inspirational message was given by the City Mayor. He was introduced by Roberto Franco, Past President of PCCI Muntinlupa. And I am very impressed by this man. He arrived earlier than the scheduled start of the event (11 am), and he stayed until the end of the panel discussions (about 3:45 pm). Most politicians, local or national, have the habit of speaking only then leave. That old attitude of "you listen to me, I need not listen to you." Mayor Fresnedi is almost the exact opposite. He spoke little and briefly, and stayed and listened attentively, that rare attitude of "you speak, I will listen". Bow.

The "Invest in Muntinlupa" and Center for Competitiveness programs were also launched that day. Key local partners were recognized and given plaque of appreciation.

Then the main event, the forum  on ASEAN integration started. Not in the picture below was the forum moderator, Mr. Marvin Tumandao, MOST, PIO. Among the points raised by the speakers were the following.

Tony Abad, TA Associates

·         Open up business, remove barriers and legal impediments
·         3 pillars of integration: socio cultural community, security and political stability, and economic community, AFTA  in goods
·         99% of all goods intra-traded are at zero percent
·         Competition law is needed, protect the consumers

Ruy Moreno, National Competitiveness Council

·         PH geographically well-situated
·         PH improved rannking WB-IFC, WEF, TI, HF
·         Think big, operate small; no more silos, teamwork
·         Competition never sleeps, bar always rises, maintain momentum

Cindy Jarabata

·         Domestic tourism is real driver, 24-25M in 2013, 12-18% annual growth
·         Budget airlines,  RORO, contributed to high dom. Tourism
·         Integration is harmonization
·         Businessmen complaints, hard to do business here

Roger Lamb, British Chamber of Commerce

·         Lack of good infrastructures
·         Ease of doing business, we are still too low in global rank
·         Constitutional issues, banning foreign competition in some industries
·         ASEAN integration will  not change that, only local consti change

Arlene Dorayu

·         Local preparedness, do we have enough infra, low electricity costs
·         Education, how responsive is HR development
·         Need for continued dialogue of local governments with investors and consumers, constituents

Bodo Goerhlich, German Chamber of Commerce

·         Upgrade the skills of local people so EU companies can hire/use them
·         Problem how govt treats big companies; paperwork and requirements getting more difficult
·         More registrations, permits required
·         No direct flight to europe except Manila-London by PAL

The open forum was also fast and dynamic. Then awarding of Certificate of Appreciate to the speakers, closing remarks by Chito Borromeo, another Past President  of PCCI Muntinlupa, raffles, and group photos.

I know only some of the people above, like Emily de Leon (left most), Elvie Quiazon and Baby Bunye to my right.

Thanks again for the opportunity to see the event and listen to your great speakers, Elvie, Baby. Two of the photos above are also from Baby's camera.

The full 20-slides synthesis is posted in slideshare.
A good, 40-slides presentation by Wendell Glenn Cagape, ASEAN 2015, Challenges to Regional Integration.

See also:
Free Trade 4: FTA in APEC, July 09, 2007
Free Trade 18: Regional Trade and East Asian Model, July 31, 2011
Free Trade 33: ASEAN Economic Community 2016, February 16, 2014
Free Trade 34: ASEAN's Bilateral and Regional FTAs, February 27, 2014

Free Trade 36: Taxation, Regulations, Trade and Rule of Law in ASEAN, August 05, 2014
Free Trade 37: Multiple Concerns and Regulations in the ASEAN, September 11, 2014

Free Trade 42: ASEAN Trade and Unilateral Liberalization Challenge, January 23, 2015 

EFN Asia 25: The ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, July 23, 2013 
Business 360 16: ASEAN Economic Community 2016, March 21, 2014 
ASEAN Tax Reform Initiative, April 10, 2014

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