It is an ‘either-or’ situation

By: Vincent Michael F. Brillo

WVSU, PIA-Iloilo Intern

WELL, I am not a full-grown adult but also, I am kid no more.

Now, I have been observing the route of the government towards its way in their so called, DEVELOPMENT. It is undeniably notable how the present and even the past administrations exert an intensive effort in making the Philippines on the road to become the Asia’s roaring tiger. But there are still misconceptions on how the government takes action in developing the country’s state economy.

Last 2015, our country hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) wherein the different delegates coming from all over the world converged to discuss and promote inclusive growth in the economy of Asia-Pacific region, focusing to the host country – the Philippines. After our country breathed and sighed in relief, Filipinos still have a lot of questions about it. Was the hosting event worth it for a P10 billion allotment from the budget? Or did the country actually benefit from it?

And now this 2017, another opportunity has come to the Philippines wherein the country’s ASEAN chairmanship was fully-accepted with open arms by President Rodrigo Duterte which also coincides in a historic milestone event – the 50th year anniversary of the association since its establishment in 1967. After the announcement of hosting the summit here in our country, many people (including me) began to question the capability of our country to host another big event in two-year financial rest from APEC, where the government plans to set a budget which is twice from what Aquino spent during the APEC summit. Would this be beneficial to all?

We cannot deny that most of the Filipinos do not have any idea about ASEAN at all. People might feel its presence by the changes they see in the route of traffics, increasing number of foreigners visiting in one place, or if there are high-maintained executive cars waiting in the front of the event venue. But other than, they do not know what ASEAN is all about. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if not ‘most’ of the people know about the summit, some, perhaps. But the fact that there are still people who are not aware about ASEAN and the benefits it could offer to our country, it is quite frightening, most especially that the government will spend P19 B from the people’s money for hosting an event they do not know what is all about.

The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) mounted a campaign promoting and endorsing the ASEAN 2017 to the Filipino people in order to help the government in spreading awareness about the goals and objectives of hosting and participation of the country in different ASEAN activities and programs. The agency helps to intensify the campaign for information dissemination in order to inform the people about the benefits that the country could gain and its role and contribution in boosting the country’s economy.

The PIA offices in different regions are hand-in-hand in doing their part by putting up multiple kiosks in provinces located at the most strategic locations such as in ferry terminals, malls and airports to give appraisal to the locales and to the visitors. The kiosks provide ASEAN reading materials and items, some information, education, and communication (IEC) materials from different government agencies and useful information services to Overseas Filipino Workers.

Last May 18, PIA region VI conducted a briefing/forum regarding ASEAN 2017 attended by different government agencies, several news publications in Iloilo City and the student interns assigned in their respective pubs. Representatives from other government offices addressed their concerns about the lapses of not orienting them about the summit; also, they acknowledged the effort of the PIA of holding such event in providing information and encouraging them to apply the ASEAN ways in their respective offices.

I admire how the present administration utilizes the opportunity to step up the game of the country and exceed the expectation of everybody in terms of dealing in what they call development. I also passionately admire how the government agencies help in disseminating information about the benefits of accepting the chairmanship of the summit to stop the misconception of using the budget of the government for nothing.

I believe that the government is trying its hardest to commit and engage with some international deals to maintain good relationships with other nations and in order to engross in specialization. But the fact won’t deny it, that it is an ‘either-or’ situation. Think of it.

It is either we benefit and gain something from the summit or we waste another P19 B for nothing. I just hope, and we all hope for the best of the outcome of ASEAN 2017.

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