Monday July 23, 2018

Eastern Visayas officials cite benefits of Asean integration

LOCAL government officials in Eastern Visayas cited the benefits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Economic Community to the region.

Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico said with the Asean integration, someone from the province can apply a job in Thailand or Singapore without securing a visa.

“With the integration, looking for a job in any Asean country is like seeking a job in Cebu or Manila. Our students will also have the opportunity to study abroad through exchange program,” Petilla said during the Asean landmark lighting Tuesday night, August 8, at the MacArthur Memorial Landing Park in Palo town.

The activity is part of the nationwide 50th Asean anniversary, with similar events simultaneously held in 50 cities and towns in the country.

The Asean free trade area will encourage local farmers to become more competitive to penetrate the international market, he said.

“As we develop our agriculture sector by training and providing assistance to farmers, we can become exporter of farm products someday,” Petilla said.

Government officials and residents join the walk for peace and Asean landmark lighting event at the park.

Groups from different Leyte towns entertained the audience with cultural presentations.

In Tacloban City, local government officials and public school teachers joined the parade and lighting event at the City Hall grounds. The City Government suspended the classes on Tuesday, August 8.

“We feel much honored to be one of the chosen cities. We are one of the progressive cities in the nation and of course here in our region. It is very symbolical as part of the growing city within the country,” said Mayor Cristina Romualdez.

The City Government also held a poster- and slogan-making contest, quiz bee, and street parade capped by fireworks display after the landmark lighting event.

In Ormoc City, the local government transformed the old city hall into a future museum. Landmark lighting events were centered at the grounds of the old building.

“It’s a dream come true for us that the old building is being transformed into a valuable cultural property as the future city museum,” said Mayor Richard Gomez.

A series of cultural performances were showcased before and after the lighting of the Asean lantern placed on top of the old city hall building.

The old building, built sometime in 1940s, transformed to look like a “White House in the making” at daytime. Colorful lights from the outside enhanced the beauty of the building at night, making it another attraction to behold in the city.

In Balangiga, Eastern Samar, officials and residents gathered at the town plaza for the landmark lighting event. Teachers and students dramatized the 1901 attack that claimed the lives of 48 American officers and men, and 28 Filipinos.

“Our forefathers fought for freedom and this represents the principles of Asean. This landmark is a representation of Asean countries to struggle for unity,” said Mayor Randy Graza.

Officials also gathered outside the City Hall in Maasin City in Southern Leyte for a simple commemoration, which include messages from local officials, presentation of Asean overview, and other activities related to the celebration of the city’s charter day on Thursday.

Department of the Interior and Local Government Regional Director Marivel Sacendoncillo expressed elation over the active involvement of local government units in Eastern Visayas to welcome the country's hosting of the Asean Summit.

"This will help promote unity and appreciation among our people of the culture of fellow Asean countries," she said.

Five countries, including the Philippines, established the Asean on August 8, 1967 to promote political, economic socio-cultural and security cooperation to ensure peace, stability and shared prosperity in the region.

The group has grown to 10-member nations that include Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. (PNA)