April 11, 2014, 6:29 p.m. – THE TOP Filipino official in
the Jakarta headquarters of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
on Saturday urged the academe to contribute to the development of the
“ASEAN Community” by helping raise awareness among students and

This will help ensure peace and prosperity within the
region, said Alicia Bala, deputy secretary general of ASEAN for the ASEAN
Socio-Cultural Community, during the 23rd St. Antoninus of Florence
Professorial Lecture at the Benavides Auditorium.

“Through your role as academicians, researchers and
students, you play a significant part in realizing the vision of an ASEAN
Community,” Bala said.

The ASEAN Community, which consists of three
blueprints—Economic, Political-Security, and Socio-Cultural—was launched this
year after being conceptualized in 2009.

“ASEAN has had an extraordinary journey, to become today an
organization whose unity is the foundation of all its efforts in realizing a
politically cohesive, economically integrated, [and] socially responsible
Community,” Bala said. “ASEAN is becoming more and more resilient, dynamic and
able to respond to common challenges.”

Still, there is a need to secure the benefits and results of
the integration effort, and continuously address the problems of poverty,
public health scourges, access to primary education, hunger, vulnerability to
natural disasters and climate change, and pollution and resource degradation.

“The ASEAN people are the heart and soul of the ASEAN
Community,” Bala said. “In order for us to raise awareness among the ASEAN
people, we have to be cognizant of the development of the media landscape, and
the rapid changes in technology that are being widely adopted by the citizens.”
A. Vergara, Jr.

Five Thomasians named outstanding professionals


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