Four university students were chosen as delegates for a five-day forum in Thailand addressing concerns in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), particularly on regional economic and social infrastructure issues.
Japan-led Hitachi Asia Ltd. announced on Friday that the four student-representatives from the University of the Philippines (UP), University of Santo Tomas (UST) and De La Salle University (DLSU) to join the 12th Hitachi Young Leaders Initiative (HYLI) in Bangkok, Thailand.
With the theme “The Road Ahead: Asean’s Role in Asia and the Global Economy,” the event would tackle “regional economic and social infrastructure issues,” also in preparation to the upcoming Asian Economic Community (AEC) by 2015.
Wesley Paul Cortez, a business student at UP and one of the representatives, said that he believes the Philippines should focus more on small and medium enterprises, emphasizing the help to rural areas.
“There is a lot of talk right now for economic integration. However, there is a need for us to inject a lot of growth into our small and medium enterprise here in our country so that we are at par with other countries,” said Cortez.
Jan Joel Simpauco, medical student at UST, said that despite not being able to contribute much on economic and international policy issues, he will represent the medical sector and address the issues relating to his field to further contribute to the future developments of Asean in medicine.
“I focus on healthcare. I know most of them would focus on international policies but I have my experience during my fieldwork as a nurse . . . I see how the patients having a difficult time just to afford these services [entitled to them]. That’s one of my advocacies—health empowerment,” Simpauco said.
Other than Cortez and Simpauco, the other two chosen were Francis Karunungan, a business student at UP, and Ira Gayll Zamudio, economics student at DLSU, who all went through “rigorous application and evaluation process that included panel interviews.”
Each year, HYLI chooses four students in each Asean country for a total of 28. Mitsuhiko Shimizu, general manager of Hitachi Asia Ltd.-Philippines, said that the company started HYLI believing that it is their “social responsibility to provide these younger leaders opportunities, inter-cultural understanding and to raise their awareness of global issues.”
Kristyn Nika M. Lazo