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Citizen involvement needed to build One Asean Community

/ 10:24 PM June 08, 2012

Photo by Fatima Reyes

MANILA, Philippines—In its efforts to build the Asean Community by 2015, officers of the Asean Ministers Responsible for Information (Amri) Technical Working Group highlighted the need for citizen involvement in its “connectivity master plan.”

“Asean needs to evolve from a community of governments to a community of people,” said Kamal Bin Mamat, representative from the Asean Secretariat, during a press briefing held at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Makati City on Friday.

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Communication and information representatives from eight out of 10 of the Asean member-states held a three-day meeting at the AIM from June 6 to 8 to discuss plans for what they described as “effective communication support towards attaining One Asean Community.”

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma said the interaction must not only come from government officials at the political levels but also from the citizens themselves.

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“Broad populations of the member-states must identify themselves not just as citizens of their member-states, but as citizens of the Asean Community,” Coloma said.

Coloma stressed the importance of the participation of students, saying the way to build Asean consciousness and awareness is through the youth.

Coloma said the Philippine part of the agenda also wants to seek the help of the Department of Education in the communication plan, particularly in hosting Asean Quiz Shows to promote awareness.

He said Asean also saw the need for breaching digital divide, increasing internet penetration and harmonizing technology to enhance ties.

Malaysian delegate Balakrishnan Kandasamy said this has been actively executed in his country, where usage of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter has been increasing. He cited the Universiti of Sains in Malaysia as a leading institution for technological enhancement.

Coloma said two leading telecommunication firms have also agreed in principle to assist the Asean in providing 100,000 free texts for the member-regions.

“That would translate to about 3.2 million free texts to propagate messages on Asean development and identity,” he said.

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Coloma said the communication plan focused on the three key pillars of the Asean Community, namely political-security community, economic community and socio-cultural community.

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TAGS: Amri, Amri Technical Working Group, ASEAN, Asean Ministers Responsible for Information, Asean Secretariat, Asian Institute of Management, connectivity master plan, Foreign affairs, Kamal Bin Mamat, One Asean Community, Secretary Sonny Coloma
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