Rappler, AIM team up to raise awareness on ASEAN integration
MANILA, Philippines – What is ASEAN integration and how will it affect you?
A project between social news network Rappler and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), the pioneer of international management education in Asia, hopes to increase awareness on the ASEAN Economic Community.
The two groups signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Thursday, June 18, agreeing to work on a series of stories explaining to the public the significance and impact of ASEAN integration. (READ: A united region: The ASEAN Community 2015)
The year 2015 will signal the start of the ASEAN Economic Community in which markets of the 10 ASEAN member states will open up to each other. This means less tax in traded goods, more streamlined customs policies, and more flexible employment opportunities for those in the region.
ASEAN is composed of the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.
The ASEAN integration is expected to make a huge impact not only on its member states but also on the rest of the world.
Under the scheme, the 10 Southeast countries are set to streamline transportation and communication infrastructure, educational systems, security, and increase cooperation in environmental issues and disaster management, among others.
The vision is to create a united region and economic hub similar to the European Union, taking advantage of ASEAN's market of 700 million people.
By tapping the expertise of AIM's ASEAN 2015 Project, Rappler hopes to publish articles, infographics, opinion pieces, and other materials to explain how ASEAN integration will affect the daily lives of those in the region – from students, to entrepreneurs, to tourists.
Rappler already has a microsite dedicated to ASEAN issues and the ASEAN member-states.
Part of the agreement is for Rappler to publish essays of the late David Sycip, a mechanical engineer and thinker who led several influential trade organizations including the Council for Economic Development, ASEAN-Japan Economic Council, and Philippine National Committee for Economic Cooperation with Japan.
AIM professor and ASEAN Project co-director Federico Macaranas called Sycip's essays as a "treasure trove."
"If you were going to train teachers in integration, this would be a perfect set of reading materials," he said during the MOU signing.
Emmy Sycip-Huang, Sycip's daughter, said the Rappler-AIM partnership was the "perfect team-up" for the project.
"For many, many years since our father David Sycip left us, we have had a great desire to share his writings and thoughts on a wide range of economic and social development issues including that of regional integration through the ASEAN network," she said.
'Ahead of his time'
Sycip wrote dozens of essays about different aspects of regional integration from the 1960s to the 1980s.
He touched on its impacts on the automobile industry, retail trade, implications of governance gaps to economic development, the phenomenon of brain drain, the need to finance science and development, and the need to improve transportation infrastructure.
His thinking was ahead of his time, said Jikyeong Kang, dean of the institute and concurrent senior vice president for marketing.
Rappler CEO Maria Ressa said Sycip's seminal writings and AIM's expertise would help Rappler readers make sense of ASEAN integration.
"If we learned something from David Sycip and the past, it is to anticipate the problems ahead and try to think of forward solutions not just for our country, but for a far larger region that is a huge market that is untapped," she said.
Hyperconnectivity through today's technology gives those living in ASEAN unprecedented power to shape their world. With integration in the horizon, this power is all the more critical.
"This is an audience that didn't know what the past is like. But I think their generation will change things tremendously. We hope to bring David Sycip's thoughts to this new generation to spark more thinking to create a better world ahead," said Ressa. – Rappler.com