News about the ASEAN is all over, day in and day out, but many still have no idea on what the ASEAN truly is or how the Philippines’ Chairmanship benefits the country or the region.

The last time our country hosted the ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings was back in 2007 during the time of Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. According to Article 31 of the ASEAN Charter, the Chairmanship shall rotate annually based on the alphabetical order of the English names of the Member States.

The Philippines’ Chairmanship could not have come at a better time. Not only are we at the dawn of a promising new era for our country under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, but 2017 is also the year when significant economic programs and vision of the Philippines were unveiled, such as AmBisyon Natin 2040. The latter is the collective long-term vision and aspirations of the Filipino people for themselves and for the country in the next 25 years.

Strengthening the economy of the ASEAN region is one of the major objectives of the regional bloc, especially since the combined economic power of the region makes it one of the largest economies in the planet.

But now that we understand the big picture, the question is: How does the ASEAN integration benefit the regular ASEAN citizen? What does the average Juan get from the country’s membership of the ASEAN?

Here are a few reasons on how the ASEAN’s economic integration can benefit every Juan:

Opportunity to buy cheaper and wider range of goods and services from within the region.

  • Ever wanted that famous snack from Thailand? Or even those lovely coffee beans from Vietnam? With the help of ASEAN integration, goods and services across the region will easily become more accessible as tariffs are lowered or even eliminated for goods traded within the region .

Opportunity to travel within the region.

  • We all have a desire to wander and travel, but not everyone is blessed with the resources or even the time to roam around the world. Thankfully, it will become easier for us to travel within ASEAN since it will be relatively cheaper, VISA-free, and most importantly, more ways to travel by air, sea and land. The ASEAN region is blessed with natural resources, infrastructure, etc. It’s almost like seeing a glimpse of how magical the world really is.

Opportunity to earn more.

  • Since the region’s 10 economies are integrated into one large economy, the move could lead to larger market opportunities for intra-ASEAN trade in local materials and products, thereby creating more job opportunities across the ASEAN, meaning more foreign investments in our country, and for business owners, more potential customers to sell their products to.

Opportunity for more jobs locally.

  • Similar to the one stated above, an integrated and open ASEAN economy and allows for more cross-border investments that will mean more job opportunities not only in our country but across the ASEAN region. It is important to note that one of the goals of the AEC is to decrease unemployment and underemployment across all ASEAN Member States.

Opportunity to work in any country in the region.

  • Having a job while being able to immerse yourself in a different country and culture is what most of us can only dream about before. Thankfully, ASEAN is already paving the way for us so we can make our dreams turn into a reality. Through the Mutual Recognition Agreement,  skill-sets honed in one ASEAN country will be held with equal value in another ASEAN Member State.


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