The celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN has ended and as we go about our daily routine there will be a a number of things that have been observed. I make this observation as a senior media consultant of PCOO and more important as a citizen. My status as a senior media consultant might be and will prompt about a label that this is biased. post. Note though that as a consultant it gives me some additional insight as to how ASEAN was managed from January to the present.
First, ASEAN in its ministerial meetings, agreements and collective statements have come up with a few important things. The blue print has been laid down for the development of ASEAN as a regional economic center, this includes but not limited to the ASEAN integration — all the challenges and opportunities that will be encountered by every citizen of ASEAN. There is also the move towards a more independent and diplomatic move to handle the situation in the South China Seas. It may not be what the hawks would want but it is the most pragmatic approach to the problem. The same hawks who can and are also vocal seem to forget the lesson that can be learned from Aesop’s fable about the Lion and the Dolphin. Lastly, The issue on of the tinderbox situation in the Korean Peninsula was handle by ASEAN as skillfully and adroitly as it can.
Second, The celebration of the 50th of ASEAN was conducted in what can be described as a professional manner. Events, meetings and forums were accomplished without any major hitches. There were no major traffic monsters during the celebration. One would note that one did not see masses of Filipinos walking up and down the major roads . Security and safety considerations were in place for all participants . There were no untoward incidents reported and cases of phones left in cabs/cars were promptly returned. Security may have been strict but this is what is needed in events of this nature. What is amazing about the security arrangements is this was done in a non-glaring way. It was there but it blended in with the events and celebrations.
Third, It was interesting to see the collective of people who worked behind the scenes. It was a community of government people, volunteers, media and citizens who made the holding of all ASEAN events possible. There have been criticisms but not much has been said about the people working to make ASEAN possible. Not much has been said about the grass root information campaign done nationwide. Also It is not limited to the Philippines alone. Across the other ASEAN member states you could see aside from government, citizens engaging and talking about ASEAN.
At this point once could say that the 2017 ASEAN celebrations have been done professionally. It is not perfect. Nothing is. It has avoided the problems of past international events held but it still has to fix new problems and challenges it has encountered.
In a sense the Nation’ s management of ASEAN 2017 is practical, un-extravagant, efficient and competent.