If there is one place outside of Metro Manila that caught the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bug, it probably be Bohol.
Bohol is requiring the singing of the ASEAN hymn during formal functions, which is a solid result of the engagement of the province with the delegates of the regional bloc.
Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto issued a directive recently to sing the ASEAN hymn together with the hymns regularly sung during functions in the last two months of 2017.
In effect, Boholanos will sing three songs before the start of a function, and depending on the venue, a fourth song will be sung in honor of the host town, if the town has its own hymn.
By practice. after the National Anthem, Boholanos sing “Awitsa Bohol” which is the provincial hymn. Up until the end of the year, the ASEAN song will be sung.
During the last media forum at the People’s Mansion, Chatto explained the rationale why he issued a directive for functions to start with singing of the regular anthems plus the singing of the ASEAN hymn.
Chatto, who leads Bohol in coordinating for a seamless conduct of the meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting and local move of popularizing the ASEAN to the grassroots noted the need to bring the ASEAN impact more to the communities.
Seeing the unfilled gap of information relative to the ASEAN despite the government efforts at information dissemination, the governor noted the efforts done by the Department of Education.
“We will not allow the ASEAN to pass without the impact that we need to get to the people,” the governor stated during the last Provincial Peace and Order Council Meeting just as the Philippine ASEAN hosting closes.
To this, the governor, through the Provincial Administrator Mitchell John Boiser issued a directive mandating the singing of the ASEAN hymn in the last two months of the year.
Through the hymn, he wanted to educate the people of Bohol who may not have any idea about ASEAN.
Singing the hymn will awaken the interest among the adults and will educate the young about the significance of being a member of the ASEAN, the governor said.
The governor said the recent hosting of the Philippines of the ASEAN is the perfect opportunity to gain awareness and interest among the people, especially the Boholanos.
The opportunity to educate the people will come after 10 years, which is too long. Riding on the popularity of ASEAN activities can help gain better awareness and understanding on what the regional group means to the lives of Filipinos.
Chatto drew inspiration from the move of the Department of Education mandating school children to sing the ASEAN hymn.
LUCK COMES IN FOURS
Bohol was lucky to host not just one, not two, not three, but four ASEAN meetings. The last will be on November 26, which will be held in Panglao and spearheaded by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The province was supposed to host only one meeting, which was the one back in April–a meeting of the technical working group of trade ministers in ASEAN and was headed by Department of Trade and Industry.
A second meeting happened in Bohol on September, which was headed by the Department of Transportation. A third meeting was held in October, which was known as the 9th ASEAN Forum on Taxation, headed by the Department of Finance.
ONE OF THE CHOSEN FEW
Chatto and Bohol’s effort in the hosting of the ASEAN will be forever etched in history.
The governor was one of the invited guest during the ASEAN gala dinner, which featured other key government leaders from different foreign countries.
Bohol sits at a special place in the hosting of the country, following the staging of four meetings related to the ASEAN chairmanship of the country.