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Manila Standard - Marcos tells students: Prepare for integration

News & Interviews
2 March 2015

By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Manila Standard

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has urged business educators and students to work together to prepare the country to face the challenges of the economic integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region.

Marcos warned students that integration could be “cruel and competitive” and that they should prepare now rather than learn the hard way later “when all will be too late.”

He also urged educators to work hard to ensure that their graduates would have the skills to match or even surpass those from other Asean countries.

Marcos said Asean integration envisions one economic region with better inter-operability and interrelations among members characterized by a “free flow of capital and investments, free flow of goods, free flow of services and skilled labor.”

Speaking before the second A-BEST (Association of Business Educators and Students of the Philippines) National Congress at Subic Bay Travellers Hotel, Marcos urged the students to study hard and take to heart the lessons they learn in school.

He said students should be trained to study regional markets and economies, consumer behavior, competition behavior, finance and marketing, as well as taking a comprehensive approach to monitoring the cost of doing business for increased competitiveness and profitability.

“It may be prudent to undertake curriculum reviews of our business courses at this crucial turning point of our history. We need to include subjects on the economy, culture and language of our Asean neighbors,” he said.

Marcos said schools should encourage and incentivize research and development, in order to spur business creativity and innovation among our Filipino students.

He said that while the Department of Trade and Industry is saying that the Philippines is ready for integration, “we should not be complacent.”

Meanwhile, Senate President Franklin Drilon called for the need to liberalize the Philippine legal profession to permit foreign lawyers to practice in the country and help their local counterparts keep pace with market and policy shifts as a result of the Asean integration.

“As integration calls for a free exchange of resources, we must ask ourselves: what does integration mean to the legal profession? What is its impact on the practice of law? In this era of integration, the ASEAN lawyer must learn to navigate multiple legal jurisdictions,” Drilon said.

“Currently, in the Philippines, the practice of law is restricted only to Filipino lawyers. This proposal for liberalization allows for collaborative work between Filipino and foreign lawyers, where the matter or transaction involves both domestic and foreign law,” he explained.

But Drilon said that the proposed liberalization of law practice must ensure that foreign lawyers will live up to the standards and principles of lawyering in the Philippines, a practice that requires loyalty to the rule of law and fidelity to the cause of the client.