Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos speaks at Sasin Urges ASEAN leaders to guard against elite arrangements to achieve AEC success

General Press Releases Thursday August 29, 2013 13:31
Bangkok--29 Aug--Sasin

Recently Mr. Fidel V. Ramos, former President of the Republic of the Philippines, spoke at Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University on the topic,"The ASEAN Community in a Rapidly Changing World". Mr. Ramos was speaking as part of the ASEAN Executive Management Programme (or ASEANex),organized by the Civil Service Commission, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of National Economics and Social Development Board and Sasin.

Professor ToemsakdiKrishnamra,Director of Sasin, gave the welcoming remarks and Sasin faculty, students and staff joined the ASEANex participants to hear a lively, in-depth presentation about the future of ASEAN from Mr. Ramos.

In his presentation, Mr. Ramos noted that the "Pax Americana" of the past six decades has given "the East Asian states the breathing spell to put their houses in order".He said Asian leaders,and especially leaders in ASEAN countries, must create a "Pax Asia-Pacifica founded on the balance of mutual benefit" to build a real "community" of nations.

He said that security issues and economic issues are bringing ASEAN nations together, but that more integration and unity is necessary if the ten ASEAN members (ASEAN-10) are to achieve the necessary economies of scale to bolster its bargaining power to compete on the global stage. And building strong ASEAN institutions will be a key factor.

"If ASEAN is to achieve regional integration that will endure and lead to an 'ASEAN Community', it must build durable regional institutions," he said. "Right now, it has no regional institutions strong enough to expedite decision-making and - even more important - to enforce compliance to group decisions."

In order to achieve the objectives of the planned ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, Mr. Ramos said that member-states must urgently commit to national economic reforms to increase economies of scale and scope, heighten competition and increase productivity at the company level.

But in addition to these economic reforms, ASEAN-10 leaders must guard against "elite arrangements" and involve the people of Southeast in the "ASEAN Community".

"If the Southeast Asian peoples are to embrace ASEAN as their 'Community', they must see it as a pervading, beneficial influence on their daily lives," he said. "They must regard the ASEAN vision as their own, being its most important stakeholders. And Southeast Asia's economic growth they will experience in their own lives only if it reduces the poverty of their families and their communities; only if it brings better public health, housing, basic education services and decent jobs; as well as higher incomes for everyone."

Mr. Ramos, who served as President of the Republic of the Philippines from 1992-1998, was in Bangkok to commemorate ASEAN Day and the 46th anniversary of the August 8, 1967 signing of the Bangkok Declaration, which established ASEAN.

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