Kritz: PH institutional infrastructure fallen short, slows down ASEAN integration
By Russell Jay M. Manglicmot
Philippines had fallen short on “institutional infrastructure”, a system which Asean members put their own country in shape in order to achieve Asean Economic Community’s (AEC) objectives, says Manila Times columnist Ben Kritz on a speech during the Asean trade ministers gathering at the Manila Hotel on Labor Day.
According to asean.org, AEC’s objectives are to be single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a region fully integrated into the global economy.
These goals expected to be completed by next year.
But the book “The Asean Economic Community: A Work in Progress” published by the Asian Development Bank says that “the prevailing attitude among the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations seems to be resignation that the goals will be missed, and missed by quite a wide margin.”
This sentiment was asserted by Kritz, making the Philippines as an example.
He said that as of November of last year, only two-thirds of the 32 “road map projects” are completed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), on the other hand, says that five to six roadmap projects shall be completed this year.
But come April this year, the numbers are still unchanged according to the DTI representative managing the Asean integration workshop for retail trade, manufacturing and creative industries in Cebu last week.
Kritz also said that the country will contribute a lot in slowing down the AEC full integration next year, calling the government as “master planners.”
“Just last week, the Department of Tourism [DOT] unveiled another ‘master plan’ (if I’m not mistaken, at least the third such opus produced by the DOT since Aquino took office) to ‘level up’ the country’s tourism industry,” he said.
Also according to him, the AEC full integration itself is “full of scape phrases such as ‘subject to negotiated pre-agreed flexibilities’ and ‘consistent with member countries’ national agenda and readiness of economy’.”
“The Philippines is contributing mightily to the general malaise that has affected efforts to implement the AEC, he ended.