PHL hosting of ASEAN Summit seen to boost Cordillera agriculture, tourism

BONTOC, Mt. Province — The Cordillera region will benefit in the country’s hosting of the ASEAN Summit this year.

Atty. Marie Rafael-Banaag, Assistant Secretary for Operations and Special Concerns of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) said this in a visit during the 50th foundation anniversary and Lang-ay festival of the province.

She said that being the host country, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte also serves as chairman of the ASEAN, with the different agencies actively involved in the various clusters.

The PCOO, she said, is tasked to do the information campaign and with the many tourists as well as natives of this province presently home for the festivities, the agency opted to bring the ASEAN 2017 information campaign to allow the people in Mountain Province to know what the Philippines’ hosting mean and what it is to the people of the mountain provinces.

According to Banaag, there are different ministerial and cluster meetings going on in the country. “We would like Mountain Province to know what ASEAN is, and what it is for us,” reason the PCOO set up an ASEAN information kiosk at the provincial plaza, where the major activities were held, to inform the locals about ASEEAN 2017.

She mentioned of the different clusters – economic, tourism, education, agriculture and others, with the ministers of the member country holding meetings. There will also be the leaders’ meetings which will all happen throughout the year.

Mountain Province and the rest of the Cordillera are known for the scenic attractions which have become a favorite destination of both local and international tourists. “The Cordillera has much to offer to the tourists and we want to take advantage of the Philippines’ hosting so that they would know us, our beautiful tourist attractions.”

ASEAN member countries help promote each other’s tourist destinations to the rest of the world. In their respective countries, they also disseminate information about the destinations of brother ASEAN countries to encourage their nationals to visit the member ASEAN states.

She also assured that the government news and media infrastructure under the PCOO like the People’s Television (PTV), Radyo ng Bayan, Philippine News Agency (PNA) and the Philippine information Agency (PIA), can be tapped to help provide news and information from all corners of the country.

The region, she said is the top producer of agricultural products for local markets and some are also being processed. She added that the country aims to make a name internationally by gearing towards the marketing of processed agricultural produce in the ASEAN markets.

The economic cluster is working for support to local farmers. She also relayed the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) financing program for those who want to go to business and or improve the processing and quality of processed agricultural products to achieve higher marketability in the ASEAN member countries, and the world.

She relayed President Duterte’s firm resolve to uplift the condition of the farmers, coming up with support and aid to the sector. His free use of irrigation to farmers is a landmark program which will further boost the condition of those who till the land.

“Our President wants to bring more options to our people, help those without capital but has the interest to improve their business or to go into business,” and he wants government to help them to be able to improve their condition, which is a factor that will raise the bar of the country’s financial situation. Liza Agoot/