September 6, 2012
'THE PHILIPPINES SHOULD PREPARE FOR ASEAN 2015'
Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that the recent jump of the Philippines in global competitiveness rankings should spur the country on to prepare for the regional economic integration of Southeast Asian nations by 2015.
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, added that while the country may not be entirely prepared for the integration, the improvement in rankings showed that it is headed in the right direction.
"The year 2015 is going to be a milestone because the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is going to become one community--not just an economic community where we trade, bargain and do commerce, but also as an employment and education community," Angara said. "I cannot truthfully say that we are completely prepared but I think we are taking steps to be more competitive." The World Economic Forum's 2012-2013 Global Competitiveness Report showed that the Philippines leaped 10 notches from 75th to the 65th spot out of 144 countries in the global competitiveness ranking for the year.
Angara stressed that global competitiveness is crucial for the Philippines since the integration of the ten-members countries of the ASEAN will increase competition for jobs, goods and services.
He noted that in two years' time, a Filipino can work without permit in any of the ASEAN countries as well as people of other ASEAN nations can also work and go to school here without restriction.
"There will be a free exchange of people and goods across boundaries of the ASEAN. That's why we have to be competitive. Competition is no longer just national. Competition for jobs and education is now international, global.
"At present, if a Singaporean and a Filipino apply for the same position, believe me, the Singaporean will get the job because of their very high standards of education. We must be competitive with our peers anywhere in the ASEAN because Filipinos now are the most mobile and migratory people in the world," said Angara, who is also chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.
Despite the big jump in terms of ranking, the Philippines still fell behind its neighbors in the region, besting only Vietnam and Cambodia who ranked 75th and 85th respectively.
Angara then urged the government, media and other stakeholders to wage an intensive information campaign to prepare the Filipinos for 2015 and to keep up in competitiveness not just with ASEAN nations but with the rest of world.
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