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Becoming Asean (four steps at a time)


When I first heard of the idea last June, from Wong Chun Wai of the Star of Malaysia and Pana Janviroj of The Nation of Thailand, I thought it was a neat concept, worth doing—but at that time I understood it on merely conceptual terms. Imagine Southeast Asian newspapers with digital editions or e-papers grouping together, using the tablet space to offer their papers at a uniform rate and to attract advertisers interested in reaching a regional audience. A good idea, I thought, but not something I would necessarily find use for.

Posted: April 8th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Infrastructure and Filipino women

QUEUING FOR WATER Women wait in line to fill their containers with water at a deep well pump in Barangay Batasan Hills, Quezon City.  RAFFY LERMA

The scarcity and poor quality of physical infrastructure in the Philippines are much lamented and with good reason.

Posted: March 23rd, 2014 in Inquirer Opinion,Talk of the Town | Read More »

Asean must unite to stop bullying

Many of us Filipinos believed that China was bluffing when it sent ships and sea patrols to the contested islands in the Spratlys. Now, it seems China is determined to do everything to take control of the islands and surrounding waters which the Philippines has laid claim to.

Posted: March 4th, 2014 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

United Asean stand vs China’s ‘expansionist’ moves a-shaping

The Foreign Ministers Retreat held in Burma (Myanmar), which ended last Jan. 17, was the first of a series of Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) meetings under Burma’s Asean chairmanship. This meeting was important because it discussed China’s imposition of a controversial fisheries law that requires all foreign vessels to first seek approval from Chinese authorities before they fish or do survey activities in the disputed islands/seas China has laid claim to.

Posted: January 23rd, 2014 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Education quality in the Asean context


The quest for education quality in fact propels all education reform initiatives. That being said, educators will be the first to say that arriving at a universal definition of education quality is actually more elusive than, say, achieving specific reform goals such as functional literacy at Grade 3, or the alignment of higher education competencies [...]

Posted: January 3rd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Ghostly presence

At the just-concluded leaders’ summit in Tokyo to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and the 10 member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a specter haunted the proceedings. China was not a participant, but it was a presence just the same. For the Philippines and for some other countries, this ghostly presence was one more argument for Japan’s role as regional counterweight.

Posted: December 16th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Why China matters


The inexorable rise of China to the status of a superpower holds out a unique opportunity for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to follow its quest in building a “rules-based community.” Why is this so? I shall make my argument in three moves.

Posted: November 16th, 2013 in Columns,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Food security is a challenge for Asean


With the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) barely two years away, leaders in the region are busy trying to implement economic policies that will put into operation Asean’s vision of a common regional market. Asean aspires to become a single market by 2015, where goods, services and investments can freely flow among its 10 member-countries. It aims to become a vital segment in the global supply chain.

Posted: October 25th, 2013 in Columns,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The two powers

The high-profile summits held this week in Bali and then in Bandar Seri Begawan were described in many media reports in stark, dualistic terms—an absent United States, a rising China. In fact, the leaders’ meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in Indonesia and of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its regional partners in Brunei showed that a multipolar world was truly emerging. But the world’s two biggest economies and military powers dominated the discussion.

Posted: October 10th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

We top Asean in (genuine) NGOs


Our nongovernment organizations (NGOs) have been blooming for a long, long time.

Posted: August 30th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

3 oil spills in 3 countries in 2 weeks


It’s been a bad few weeks for the oceans of Southeast Asia, with three separate petrochemical spills polluting our waters, endangering biodiversity and livelihoods.

Posted: August 16th, 2013 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Asean central

What a difference a year—or, more to the point, a new host—makes. At around this time last year, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations reeled from an unexpected scandal: the failure for the first time to issue a joint communiqué after a leaders’ summit. China had pressured host Cambodia, its close ally, not to allow any mention of the South China Sea disputes in the traditional closing statement; both the Philippines and Vietnam vigorously objected, but in the end Cambodia chose to side, not with its Asean partners, but with China.

Posted: July 4th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial | Read More »



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