National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) officials during the turnover of the book billed “ASEAN Integration: Status, Issues, and Prospects,” co-authored by NRCP President Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte, Jr. (center, in grey) with five other experts who are affiliates of the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte, Jr., National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) president, recently unveiled the book he co-authored with members of the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) entitled “ASEAN Integration: Status, Issues, and Prospects,” donating copies for the NRCP Library last 29 February 2016 during the meeting of the Governing Board at NRCP, Taguig City.

“ASEAN integration is a work in progress. Ensuring its success is one of our best legacies for the next generation of Filipinos. Integration can only take off depending on the readiness of the policy landscape and determination of political leaders. This is our collective task, our responsibility,” opined Mr. Antonio D. Kalaw, Jr. (President and CEO of DAP), in the book’s foreword.

Dr. Uriarte said the book is a product of the “coming-together” of six DAP experts that includes him. According to Dr. Uriarte, the authors interpret ASEAN regional integration as a quest for competitiveness, for centrality, and for identity.

The chapter entitled Quest for Identity by Dr. Uriarte traces the beginnings of the concern for ASEAN identity from its early years, as well as enumerates the various facets of the ASEAN identity among member-countries, along with ASEAN symbols and descriptions.

A fellow NRCP member, Dr. Jose P. Tabbada (Division VIII - Social Sciences), co-wrote the chapter on ASEAN Economic Integration: The Quest for Competitiveness with Sayeeda Bano, which highlights the concept of a “single market and production base,” and chronicles the extent of ASEAN trade and investment, as well as tackles the challenge of narrowing the development gap among the ASEAN economies.

Other chapters are: Quest for Regional Community by M.C. Abad, Jr., introductory article that traces the evolution of the ASEAN, touching on important milestones leading to the adoption of three pillars of the ASEAN, and the rationale behind regional community building; Political and Security Cooperation: The Quest for Centrality by Orlando S. Mercado, which tackles political milieu and setup of and between individual ASEAN nations, along with discussions on the escalating tensions in the South China Sea dispute, among other issues; and a concluding chapter ASEAN Integration as a Driver of Reform in the Philippines by Carlos C. Tabunda, Jr., which presents a staging point for the next course of actions, including necessary local reforms in connection to ASEAN integration.