Philippines not ready for Asean integration

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Monday, February 10, 2014


A NON-GOVERNMENT organization focused on the development of human resource as primary driver of business and national economic growth is wary of the seemingly unpreparedness of the Philippines once the integration of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean), as one economic community, commence in 2015.

The People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) underscored the government’s non-urgent stance on the Asean integration whether majority of Filipinos are aware of the issue.

Josephus B. Jimenez, PMAP president, said that after numerous consultations, they found out that “there is an endemic apprehension that our country is really not ready to face the reality of integration, with all its facets, dimensions, and far reaching implications.”

“The government has not sounded a call, much less an urgent call to put our acts together,” Jimenez said.

At the onset of the Asean Integration, PMAP said that the program of implementation would remove all restrictions on trade in the four priority service sectors, such as transport and logistics supply chain; research, information technology, media and arts; healthcare and tourism; and human capital management.

Jimenez said that the once fully-integrated, peoples in the Asean can freely roam around and make a living anywhere in any of the countries, and without a clear government guideline, Filipino professionals and skilled workers would be pirated by member countries, particularly in the education and health services.

“This would be to our disadvantage and there is a great danger since we would lose many of our professionals to work in any of the Asean countries,” Jimenez said.

He said although the Asean Integration would create an economy of scale to the world, the country’s leaders have not discussed how Filipino skilled workers could be at par with workers of other Asean members.

“Somehow, we neglected to prepare (for the integration) and we will be facing difficulties, but it’s not too late than do it later,” Jimenez said.

PMAP, with 2,000 member companies and individual management executives engaged in human resource management and industrial relations work, has offered government solutions to the perceived difficulties in handling the Asean integration.

“That is why we are preparing a roadmap that would somehow harmonize our position with other countries, where we are vis-a-vis the inevitable eventuality of the Asean Integration,” Jimenez said.

PMAP said the roadmap would be ready by June this year.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 10, 2014.

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