Worried about disputes-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Saturday, March 16, 2013
EVEN with rosy forecasts for Asia-Pacific economies, the president of the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) warns that territorial disputes could be stumbling blocks to the region’s growth.
CACCI president Benjamin Yujuico warned that “small fires could turn into conflagrations” and that tensions between countries can have its unintended consequences.
Asked about the tensions in Sabah, Yujuico said that after the violence, thousands of Filipino residents there could end up returning to the country. “Where are we going to relocate them? Who is going to feed them? Where can we get employment?” he pointed out.
Followers of the Sultanate of Sulu and Malaysian forces have been been clashing in an area in Sabah for about a month now after they claimed ownership of Sabah.
Aside from the Sabah issue, Yujuico added that around Asia, there are several territorial conflicts among countries like China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and the Philippines.
He noted a time when Chinese protesters were burning Japanese cars and establishments at the height of demonstrations to express their disapproval over Japan’s claims.
He admitted they do not have a specific proposal to address territorial conflicts, saying these are best addressed by governments. However, he said the business community is willing to help if asked.
He said that as long as communication channels remain open and that the business community continues to connect with one another, conflicts will not be an issue. He added that conferences such as the one they held help bring such messages across.
Although the violence has lessened, Yujuico said it will continue to be in political discussions.
Still, he said a benefit by holding conferences like the CACCI is that they have direct contact with persons from countries. “We know they are good people.”
The conference, he said, promotes regional cooperation and fosters partnerships with business communities in other countries.
Malaysian delegate Dato Ghazali Dato Yusoff, executive chairman of Nusantra Technologies, said that after being in Cebu, he is inclined to propose that a second maritime conference be held here.
He announced that they are holding a maritime conference in Malaysia this year and after seeing what Cebu has to offer, said he will strongly suggest that the second maritime convention be held here.
CACCI organizing chairman Jose Ng said that as of Thursday, they officially had 475 delegates registered. He said this number was expected to rise higher than the 500 they targeted, as the figure did not include yesterday’s registrations.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 17, 2013.