The regional office of the Philippine Information Agency in Western Visayas will be conducting activities that aim to get the interest and help make residents and visitors of the province of Aklan more aware of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In partnership with the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Atty. Janet Mesa, Director of the PIA 6 said in an interview over PIA radio program, that PIA will put up two ASEAN 2017 kiosks in the province of Aklan in time for the two ASEAN meetings slated in Boracay Island on February 19 to 21 and February 21 to 22.

The kiosks which will be put up at the Kalibo International Airport and at D’ Mall in Boracay Island. It will feature information materials for the public about ASEAN 2017. Also available at the kiosks are information, education materials from other government agencies and the ‘Mula sa Masa, Para sa Masa’ tabloids produced by the PCOO.

Mesa said PCOO and PIA have also initiated briefings/fora on ASEAN, participated in by multi-sectoral groups in other regions. Some of the provinces in the country that already hosted the briefings are Pampanga, Zamboanga, and Baguio.

AS Chairman of the ASEAN 2017, it is an opportune time to discuss and promote ASEAN and its benefits for the Filipinos. In fact, this is the fourth time that the Philippines is hosting the ASEAN. The first was in l987, the second in 1999, the third in 2006 and now again in 2017 according to the PIA RD.

She urged other government agencies to also undertake ASEAN awareness-raising activities citing Memorandum Circulars No. 16 series of 2013, MC No. 16 series of 2014, MC No. 10 series of 2015 and the latest last MC No. 06 series of 2016, issued by the Civil Service Commission that enjoins government agencies to help spread ASEAN awareness by participating in the information campaign and conducting programs and activities.

“This is a year-long activity which will last until December. Let us bear in mind that the Philippines is the current Chair and our involvement to spread ASEAN awareness is very much needed so that a wide range of stakeholders will know and understand the importance of the regional integration and the opportunities it brings to Filipinos,” said Mesa.

Mesa noted one of the remarkable gains of ASEAN is making travel easy for citizens of member countries with the agreement like the “no visa policy”.

The ASEAN was created on August 8, 1967, and it is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Aside from the Philippines, other member countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. (PIA)