The ASEAN Neighborhood
The concept of an interdependent community implies something more than mere tolerance. It requires a harmony of diverse strengths bound by a distinctive unity achieved through shared ideals and common goals.
In our region in Asia, my fellow Filipino compatriots, this interdependent community, in the most immediate sense, is our ASEAN Neighborhood.
The ASEAN is a regional grouping of nations. But more than that, we are a Neighborhood - a family of friends.
Each ASEAN nation is like a house and the life of our nations make of it a home (away from Home) for all of the generations of our peoples.
Each of our ASEAN homes is a shelter of Country, each with its own particular set of house rules that make up its written laws and Constitution or Ideal of State.
Each Ideal of State maintains within each particular form of Country its necessary governance which is a derivative form of the creative ideal and an extension of the will of Divine Providence.
Each our Responsible States is a specific guardian to a particular vision of Country of which singular will of mission it is to preserve the peace that prospers the life of our civil societies and preserve the order of our generations (unto the last of our generations at the Last Day).
Each ASEAN home should maintain a Family Store within the ASEAN Common Market to foster trade within our region and to facilitate cultural exchanges.
This, the SEA games, and other cooperative engagements within our ASEAN Neighborhood benefits us, my fellow Filipino compatriots, and it shall stand to benefit us even more if we cease to be passive about it or worse, indifferent.
I am bringing this to the fore of our consciousness because it is a prevailing fact of our national life that our civilization is not complete without our neighbors. Indeed, the founders of ASEAN understood that no one nation in ASEAN is an island.
It is our work to build upon their realization and break free of the rut in our collective thinking that our hard-won independence somehow implies isolation from the rest of the nations of our world. And we should begin this breaking out process with an understanding and appreciation of our ASEAN Neighborhood.
An awareness of this should work to inculcate a region-wide appreciation and a sense of comity that should preclude any more disrespect of the ties that make us one as ASEAN.
Too, we should not compare ASEAN with other more prosperous groupings of Countries in their respective regions. Because ASEAN is our work to do as well.
Indeed, we have our own set of problems and troubles but no one else can build on ASEAN than those nations within our ASEAN Neighborhood:
And we, as one of those nations, must form part of the solution.
Our Republic of the Philippines is also a member of the EAS, APEC, Group of 24, the Latin Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the United Nations.
The litmus test for change in Burma is only this: Free Aung San Suu Kyi.
No Comparing PNoy
A recent article reported a comparison was drawn by an intelligence firm between our President, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, and the current President of the USA, Barack Obama.
Personally, I did not appreciate its negative implications. However, even if it were essentially well-meaning it is still basically faulty. Comparing persons is like comparing apples and oranges. They're just different.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! God bless us all.