Our President Noy is in Jakarta for the 18th ASEAN Summit.
As you know, my fellow Filipino compatriots, our nation is an integral part of the ASEAN. And I would that we should always bear this in mind and heart. We rightfully belong to this region and this region rightfully belongs to our ASEAN Neighborhood.
We should preserve a sense of good will and proper pride about our regional grouping in ASEAN. Because no other grouping of nations can build up the earth here in our region but ours. This is our own dreaming together as ASEAN.
If we remain focused here in the Philippines on our own goals of peace and national development, right here within our own Republic undertaking of Country, we should become aware also that we are adding to the strength of our regional community.
There will come a time when we can reach further out of ourselves in peace and good will with other nations in times of need, and with much better means, but until that time, right here is where we must all begin, right here in the Philippines - our Republic as an integral part of the ASEAN Neighborhood.
Depending on which Country one belongs, every Country here in ASEAN is the best place to live on earth. But only if we collectively believe we can make it so.
It is important that we learn to accept the needs that arise from realities that are local to our region. These needs essentially drive our nations together toward its natural goals which lead to peace and prosperity.
Or if we are not yet wise, it could drive our nations apart.
However, the fact that we have ASEAN is good. Because it manifests our common will of unity.
We can not enlarge the horizons of our own world view realistically if we can not learn to grow out of the colonial mindset that seeks greener pastures elsewhere first.
We can not neglect the fact that we live in this region.
Though each nation in ASEAN belong also to the greater regions of the earth, it is here in the Philippines, and here in our ASEAN, where we must always, always think to build first.
My honorable compatriots, that inherent tendency to disown by false comparison, our Country and our Region, is something we have to learn to let go if we are to finally come into our own in this world.
If we can not learn to love our own, we can not love (at all). If we only love our own, we do not love (we hate). None of these attitudes of nationhood are conducive to peace and development.
If we want to love, we must simply do so bravely, beginning with ourselves and like the stars shining outward - love all things without condition, without compare, and without measure.
For we are a nation distinct but not apart from the one family of the nations of Mankind (which is represented in and by the U.N. of which we are all part).
Two things I should like to write about here in particular as regards to the 18th ASEAN Summit:
Firstly, the Border Dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, I should like to point out, share a similar dimension with the larger, more complex Spratly dispute.
They are both essentially an issue of overlapping claims of sovereignty.
None of these are viable population centers which means the present conflict is not essentially military in nature.
Behind all the rhetoric, in both cases, I think I can safely say that the issue is entirely driven by something else.
In the case of the border dispute between the two member nations of our ASEAN Neighborhood, I do not think it too unrealistic to say that in the interests of both Countries and the greater good of the region, the conflict may be safely contained by delimiting the nature of the engagement away from traditional military means.
By this I am manifesting my belief that this is cultural engagement and therefore, amenable to other solutions of a more ambitious nature.
Furthermore, the military solution can not simply be sustained either so the sooner it is taken out of the cards, the better.
The creation of a Common Trust solution that takes into consideration particular concerns as well as puts the territory squarely in the stewardship of both nations might be the better way ahead for both Thailand and Cambodia.
Therefore, I challenge the ASEAN Neighborhood to come up with a Common Trust solution to the Cambodia-Thailand Border Dispute.
A Common Trust solution to this unfortunate border dispute, in my own view, will yield valuable lessons learned that in turn will contribute toward a workable solution to the Spratly issue.
However, ASEAN must first connect the two issues together.
The other thing is the reaffirmation of the essential doctrine of Civilian Superiority Over the Military.
The Royal Wedding
Last week, much of the world had a breather...
I am a fan of Princess Diana's advocacy against the use of land mines and I still am. I am also very appreciative of her de-mining efforts here in our region.
I think something went full circle last week... It certainly feels that way to me.
I am certainly not against the institution of the Monarchy as an integral part of the Responsible State, mind you.
That I was - like you - born into a Republic undertaking of Country simply does not make it that way, my honorable compatriots.
I am however, like you, against bad governance of all sizes and stripes.
So congratulations to Prince William and Catherine!
May God bless their wedlock vows that He may keep them always together.
May they always be able to say forever to each other and mean it.
May God prosper their works of leadership and service.
And may God further bless their union with the new life of children.
Cheers to the Royal Couple! God bless the U.K.!
Good on you, Will Wales.
Mabuhay ang ASEAN! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! God bless us all.
The Paradox of Power