The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN was established on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok by the 5 original member countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined on January 8, 1984, Vietnam on July 28, 1995, Laos and Myanmar on July 23, 1997, and Cambodia on April 30, 1999. ASEAN has a total area of 4.5 million square kilometers. As of 2005, ASEAN had a total population of 558 million and a combined gross domestic product of US$876 billion.
The ASEAN declaration states that the association’s aims are:
- to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavors in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations; and
- to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationships among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of United Nations Charter.
However, ASEAN looks forward to the improvement of 3 major aspects in our community: the political, economical and societal aspects wherein a dwindling optimism is being heard about.
In its political aspect, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) states that ASEAN politics, security dialogue and cooperation should aim to promote regional peace and stability by enhancing regional resilience. Regional resilience shall be achieved by cooperating in all fields based on the principles of self- confidence, self- reliance, mutual respect, cooperation and solidarity which shall constitute the foundation of a strong and viable community of nations in Southeast Asia. Some of the major political records of ASEAN are ASEAN Declarations in Bangkok, Thailand, Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality Declaration at Kuala Lumpur, and many more.
When ASEAN was established, economic and functional cooperation is attained. Trade among member countries was insignificant. Estimates on the 1967 ventures and the early 1970’s showed the shares of intra-ASEAN trades from the “total trade” of the member countries between 12 and 15 percent. Thus, some of the earliest economic cooperation of schemes of the ASEAN was aimed at addressing these situations. One of these was the preferential Trading Arrangement of 1977 which accorded tariff preferences for trade among ASEAN economies.
Societal Aspect improvement exists in ASEAN. Thus, ASEAN gives noble jobs to the jobless but educated people. Office works, business or doing online stuffs are some of a few jobs. Even non-educated people are given the chance as long as they have the skills and talents which would contribute to their country’s development.
Since Philippines, was once the host of the 12th Leader’s Summit of the 10- Nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a lot of these blessings would fall unto us. Political improvement is expected to take place. The Philippines bountifully needs this one to break the barriers of war in the government panel and produces a responsible group of government officials. Another is the improvement of our economical aspects. Nowadays, our country’s major problem is poverty. Although people have jobs, still the salary is insufficient. The ASEAN greatly contributes to its improvement through finding ways to increase peso-dollar rates. Lastly, the societal aspect reaches its pinnacle of success through the abiding forces of members of the ASEAN.
To delve into a deeper sense, the Philippines is so lucky for having ASEAN summit in the country. It’s no longer a strange person living in a world of nowhere and following a labyrinth path that leads him to an eternal search. However, a man is now an ant which is entirely different following a one-way street towards his destination. It’s an odyssey which shoots life directly to the mouth. It’s a path that leads him to great improvement. And that is a path of the Philippines towards a bright horizon - the ASEAN Summit.