Philip­pines com­pared to other ASEAN na­tions

The Freeman - - OPINION -

The Philip­pines is a char­ter mem­ber of ASEAN, hav­ing signed the Bangkok Dec­la­ra­tion in 1967, giv­ing rise to the birth of this re­gional co­op­er­a­tion among the orig­i­nal mem­bers, namely Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia, In­done­sia, Thai­land, and the Philip­pines. They were later joined by Viet­nam, Brunei Dar­rus­salam, Myan­mar, Laos Peo­ples' Demo­cratic Repub­lic, and Cam­bo­dia. To­day, ASEAN stands strong not just an eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion mech­a­nism but also as a po­lit­i­cal and re­gional se­cu­rity co­or­di­na­tion fo­rum, and a venue for co­op­er­a­tion in so­cial and cul­tural af­fairs of more than 650 mil­lion peo­ple.

On pop­u­la­tion, the Philip­pines is sec­ond only to In­done­sia which has no less than 256 mil­lion peo­ple. The Philip­pines' lat­est sur­vey showed a pop­u­la­tion of 105 mil­lion Filipinos. Third placer in terms of num­ber of peo­ple is Viet­nam with 93 mil­lion. Thai­land is num­ber four with 66 mil­lion, and Myan­mar is fifth with 52 mil­lion. The sixth is Malaysia with 32 mil­lion, fol­lowed by the sev­enth placer, Cam­bo­dia with 16 mil­lion na­tion­als. No. 8 is Laos PDR with a pop­u­la­tion of only seven mil­lion, fol­lowed by Sin­ga­pore, the strong­est econ­omy but with only six mil­lion pop­u­la­tion. The 10th placer and the tail-en­der is the tiny sul­tanate of Brunei with a pop­u­la­tion of only half a mil­lion, more than one-half of whom are for­eign work­ers con­sist­ing of In­done­sians, Malaysians, and Filipinos, among oth­ers. This num­ber of peo­ple is smaller than a barangay in Cebu City or Que­zon City.

In terms of per capita in­come (gross do­mes­tic prod­uct di­vided by pop­u­la­tion), how­ever, Brunei is num­ber two among the 10 ASEAN mem­bers. The 2016-2017 fig­ures of the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum's Global Com­pet­i­tive­ness In­dex in­di­cate that Brunei peo­ples' per capita in­come is a whop­ping 80,648 US dol­lars. Sin­ga­pore­ans are the top­notch­ers with 85,253 US dol­lars. One in ev­ery three fam­i­lies in Sin­ga­pore is a bil­lion­aire. Rank­ing third are the Malaysians with a per capita in­come of 25,552 US dol­lars. Fourth place goes to Thai­land whose per capita in­come is 16,959 US dol­lars. In­done­sians gets the fifth place with 10,537 US dol­lars in per capita in­come.

Filipinos are at sixth, with a per capita in­come of 8,325 US dol­lars. The Viet­namese oc­cupy the sev­enth place with a per capita in­come of 5,957 US dol­lars, fol­lowed by Laos PDR with 5.748 US dol­lars per capita, and Myan­mar with 5,514 US dol­lars. The low­est per capita in­come among Asean coun­tries be­longs to Cam­bo­dia with 3,340 US dol­lars. Cam­bo­dia is a very poor coun­try, and ap­pears to be the least de­vel­oped among the ASEAN 10.

To be in the sec­ond place on pop­u­la­tion and in the sixth place in terms of per capita in­come is not re­ally an en­vi­able po­si­tion. The Philip­pines must hurry up and shape up, other­wise Viet­nam may soon over­take us and put us in the com­pany of Laos, Myan­mar and Cam­bo­dia. We have all the pres­sures to do bet­ter, and we can­not de­lay our rise to the top three in ASEAN.

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