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Rodel B.

Valdez

Critique about ASEAN Integration


From the opinion of Cecilio Habilito in Inquirer entitled The environment in Asean integration

What is all about ASEAN? What is its importance to many Filipino and to other Asians.
What kind of environment do we have if the ASEAN Integration will fully be implemented. Two years
ago many people, especially in business sector are asking whether the ASEAN community could be
realized by the year 2015 these are some of the ideas of Cecilio Habilito in Inquirer Philippines
entitled The environment in Asean integration which was published in the said news paper on May
12, 2015.
The article seeks to debate and generate ideas on all aspects of ASEAN economic
group and Integration. Furthermore, it focuses on various issues like assessment of Asian Economic
Performance, ideas on Creation of an Asian Economic grouping, assessment of current regional
initiatives and etc.
The ideas of the author in the article are arranged in such a way that it reflects his
thought. First paragraph deals with the authors key ideas such as his reflections on the political
awakening of the ASEAN community. Second paragraph is all about the idea of the author toward
free flow of goods, services, capital, knowledge and capital across the region, that will not end up
sacrificing the natural environment and the well being of people and communities in the process. His
question such as how do we avoid the problems caused by transnational crime, illegal immigration,
environmental degradation and pollution both within and across national borders, and other cross-
border challenges? will give the time to the reader to reflect themselves about what he or she might
see in the the dreaded race to the bottom, where governments are too often led to relax social and
environmental protection standards in the competition to attract a greater share of investments.
Therefore, it has something to do with the preoccupation with economic growth. Third paragraph
deals with the approach to Asean integration as a regional community. It is further discuss by the
author by citing statements that based on facts for instance in ASEAN community there appears to
be a key aspect of integration missing. While it seeks closer integration among the economies of the
region, it appears to neglect the holistic integration of the social, environmental and economic
dimensions of development. Instead of an integrated strategy to achieve the envisioned Asean
community, it compartmentalizes the approach into three distinct tracks toward its attainment. Its well
known that theres an Asean Economic Community, but its not as well known that theres such a thing
as an Asean Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), and an Asean Political-Security Community
(APSC) as well. The latter two, in fact, do not receive attention anywhere near that given to the AEC,
and commitments therein dont seem to be as closely tracked and monitored, as have been those in
the AEC Blueprint. Meanwhile, as globalization is creating intense competition between countries in
the world arena, regional integration is gaining importance for sustainability of developing countries.
The article also addresses issues related to Ensuring Environmental Sustainability
where in the author cited the ASCC Blueprint . It identifies 11 thrusts addressing, pursuing or
promoting: (1) global environmental issues; (2) transboundary environmental pollution, particularly
haze pollution and movement of hazardous wastes; (3) environmental education and public
participation; (4) environmentally sound technology; (5) quality living standards in Asean cities/urban
areas; (6) harmonization of environmental policies and databases; (7) sustainable use of coastal and
marine environment; (8) sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity; (9)
sustainability of freshwater resources; (10) climate change and its impacts; and (11) sustainable
forest management.
I agree with the authors idea about economic officials responding to concerns from
business stakeholders will in turn tend to neglect longer-term environmental implications of economic
policies and measures they undertake. A holistic and integrative approach will thus be elusive unless
the decision-making process brings together policymakers from the various perspectives involved.
But governments and Asean mechanisms have always been structured sectorally. It will take a
deliberate move away from compartmentalized planning and decision-making, toward a more holistic
and integrative approach, to overcome this.More than economics , however, the issues that were
earlier raised, I think, is of equal importance. The many unresolved differences in the region and the
lack of ASEAN identity might become stumbling blocks for the envisioned economic integration. I
believe that more focus should be given to such issues to have a successful implementation of the
ASEAN Community.
Most people seem to see the ASEAN Economic Community as something that our country
is not ready for, and will bring us great problems. The fact is, we are already more Asean engaged
than people appear to think and many Philippine businesses of various sizes are already reaping the
benefits of doing business with our Asean Neighbors. Contrary to perceptions expressed by the
author various government programs are actually in place to enable small and medium enterprises to
engage benefit from Asean Economic Community. Interestingly, despite the potential conflicts that
may result from environmental issues, implementation of laws has hardly been realized.