วันอังคารที่ 26 มีนาคม พ.ศ. 2556
The anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan is the focus of the March 2013 edition of “ASEAN Today.”
Interviews with residents rebuilding their lives, and what ASEAN did to help is in a special report from the area hit two years ago.
Dalton Tanonaka of Indonesia’s Metro TV reports on the people and places of the dynamic Southeast Asia region. Also included in this month’s program are stories on the booming business in coconut water in the Philippines, serving up snake in Vietnam, and the “Super Idol Taiwan” success of Indonesian singer Nana Lee. Durudee Sirichanya, Head of Public Outreach and Civil Society Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, has the regular feedback segment.
This is the 17th episode in the informative and entertaining series, and can be viewed on YouTube (http://youtu.be/BLuW3WaS7KY) as well as through ASEAN broadcasters including Singapore’s Channel NewsAsia and Indonesia’s Metro TV.
“ASEAN Today” is a joint production of the ASEAN Secretariat and Metro TV. Some material is provided by broadcasters in member countries. Check local listings for broadcast times. For more information, contact Tanonaka at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), with the support of ASEAN Secretariat, convened the four-day ASEAN Capacity-Building Forum on Risk Assessment with the theme “of Bridging Science and Practice in Disaster Risk Management towards Building Community Resilience” last week in Bangkok.
The four-day regional event was officially opened on Tuesday, 19 March and was participated by disaster risk management professionals from ASEAN Member States, civil society groups, the academics, and the science and research community from the region as well as partners from Europe, Australia, and the United States. Three ASEAN sectoral bodies were represented in the forum, i.e. ACDM, ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST) and ASEAN University Network (AUN).
Mr. Suporn Ratananakin, the Advisor to the Director General of Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) of Thailand representing the ACDM Chair, described the event as a unique opportunity for ASEAN as “...[the] disaster risk management community in the region, led by the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management will closely interface [in] the next [four] days with many esteemed colleagues, experts, professors, researches and tool developers from the science community with the objective of enhancing the synergy between these two communities and foster greater interaction and systematic collaboration in support of disaster risk reduction.”
Dr. Jane Rovins of the Integrated Research for Disaster Risks, in her message to the group, emphasised the relevance of bridging the gap between science and practice on disaster risk management as well as underlined the importance of understanding how people interpret risks and choosing actions based on these interpretations.
The first day of the forum also featured thematic session discussions on “developing a framework for dialogue between disaster risk management and science community in ASEAN,” “science-based risk communication,” and “accountability in disaster risk management.”
The forum was followed by a three-day introductory training workshop on selected risk assessment tools such as CAPRA (Comprehensive Approach for Probabilistic Risk Assessment), InaSAFE (Indonesia Scenario Assessment for Earthquakes) and OpenQuake (Open Source Software for Seismic Hazards and Risk Assessment). The workshop was participated by representatives from national disaster management and early warning agencies of the ASEAN Member States.
The four-day forum was culminated with an informal session of the ACDM Working Group on Risk Assessment, Early Warning and Monitoring. Next steps on identifying “bridge builders”, enhancing existing links to promote greater accountability, and establishing linkages among the three ASEAN sectoral bodies (i.e. ACDM, AUN and COST) were also identified in the meeting.
The ASEAN Capacity Building Forum on Risk Assessment was conducted in partnership with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre), AusAID and the Global Earthquake Modelling (GEM). Another major partner in the event is the Humanitarian Futures Programme (HFP), King’s College London which supports humanitarian responsibilities to develop organisational structures and leadership. A video of their work on building a dialogue between the science and the humanitarian community can be accessed here. The event was supported by the ASEAN-UNISDR Technical Cooperation, UK Natural Environment and Research Council (NERC) and ASEAN-Australia Cooperation Arrangement.
Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol,presided over the ceremony to inaugurate the exhibition entitled “Thailand’s Approach to Alternative Development”
On 12 March 2013, Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations Office at Vienna, and Mr. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), presided over the ceremony to inaugurate the exhibition entitled “Thailand’s Approach to Alternative Development”, which was held during the 56th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) at the United Nations Office at Vienna from 11 to 15 March 2013. The exhibition, in collaboration with the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), Ministry of Justice, Thailand Institute of Justice, Royal Project Foundation and Mae Fah Luang Foundation, highlights the Thai Alternative Development (AD) Model and explores its mainstreaming into the larger development context. The exhibition also highlights the promotion of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Alternative Development, a joint effort by the Governments of Thailand and Peru which has been endorsed by the 56th session of the CND.
Advisor to Minister of Laboru boosts morale of SME operators in Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon provinces
On March 22, 2013, Mrs. Narumol Thandamrong, Advisor to the Minister of Labour, launched Ministry of Labour’s mobile projects to provide knowledge about wage laws and help business operators access the government’s measures designed to assist firms that might be affected by the 300 baht daily minimum wage policy and enhance their capability in Nakhon Phanom and Sakon Nakhon provinces. During the visit, she also met with local SME operators and gave them morale support. No major impact of the policy was found to have affected local firms.
Mrs. Narumol said the project is part of the policies of Mr. Phadermchai Sasomsub, Minister of Labour, to enhance SME operators’ knowledge about the 300 baht daily minimum wage policy and minimum wage to ensure their compliance of the policy, and to help firms enhance their competitiveness and find access to the government’s measures designed to assist firms that might be affected by the policy and enhance SMEs’ capability.
The project also covers public hearing on impact of the policy. It provides a platform for business operators to exchange views with government officials and jointly work out solutions to prevent layoff and shutdown of business.
Mrs. Narumol said the 300 baht daily minimum wage policy has been implemented since January 1 and it has helped firms to stay alert and prepare for the formation of the ASEAN Community in the next two years. The government is determined to find out and address problems caused by the policy and continue assist SMEs find loan sources, increase their products and solve other problems.
On her first stop in Nakhon Phanom province, Mrs. Narumol chaired a workshop to hear problems, exchange views and experience and discuss solutions to impacts of the policy from local SME operators. The workshop was part of the Ministry of Labour’s mobile project. The advisor to the Minister of Labour also visited Nakae Pongjareon Rice Mill.
In Nakhon Phanom, there are a total of 1,205 firms, which employ 13,956 workers. Of them, 1,197 are SMEs. No firms have been forced to shut down following the implementation of the minimum wage policy.
On her second stop in Sakon Nakhon province, Mrs. Narumol chaired a similar workshop, which was also attended by local SME operators. In Sakon Nakhon, there are a total of 1,806 firms, which employ 13,956 workers. Of them, 1,739 are medium sized enterprise and 67 are small sized enterprises.
According to data from Ministry of Commerce’s Sakon Nakhon Provincial Business Development Office, a total of 98 new firms were registered while 26 firms closed their business during October 2012 and February 2013 period. Most of those firms, who went out of businesses, had stopped operating long before they made the registration due to their uncompetitiveness. During the January-February 2013, some firms also went out of businesses but the 300 baht daily minimum wage policy was not the cause of their shut down.
In both provinces, firms that are able to comply with policy have reduced their operational costs. They try to reduce the company’s activities, adjust employment condition, be strict on quality of work and increase discipline at workplace. Workers are also encouraged to work on voluntary basis. Firms, meanwhile, ask the government to reduce their burden through tax measures, cut loan interest, control prices of capital such as fuel and electricity and help them access to local sources.
Provincial labour offices and Ministry of Labour’s local agencies have worked together in carrying out the 300 baht daily minimum wage policy and collecting data about workers and employers who are affected by the policy. So far, no workers have been laid off while there have been no business shutdown due to the policy.
Provincial social security offices have distributed instructions about the 300 baht daily minimum wage policy to 2,600 firms which has more than one employee, held meetings to clarify employers, employees about the policy, held meetings with Ministry of Labour’s agencies, Sakon Nakhon Chamber of Commerce and Sakon Nakhon Federation of Industries and implemented emergency measures including extending officials hours to 6 pm from Monday-Friday and between 9am-4pm on Saturday and coordinating with chamber of commerce, federation of industries, banks and relevant agencies in getting data about labour situation.
Deputy Permanent Secretary visits Brunei to explore market for Thai workers, saying labour market in the southeast Asian country has bright prospect as local employers are confident in skills of Thai workers, who they say – despite their weakness in English --, have responsibility, work hard and are more skilled than workers from other countries.
Mr. Poonsak Sethanandha, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labour, led medical staff and nurses to provide medical checkup for Thai workers in Brunei. During the visit to the country, he met with local employers including owner of Megalift Company, a logistics and oil delivery firm, to explore market for Thai workers.
Mr. Poonsak said he received positive response about Thai workers from local employers, who wanted to hire more workers from Thailand, particularly semi-skilled workers. According to the deputy permanent secretary, local employers say Thai workers have responsibility, work hard and are more skilled than workers from other countries.
For this reasons, Mr. Poonsak said Thai workers could earn more income than workers from other countries. Although, they have weakness in speaking foreign language, especially English, it is not too hard to learn. Ministry of Labour also provides Thai workers language training courses before they travel to work in other countries.
Mr. Singhadej Chu-amnart, Inspector-General of Department of Employment, said most Thai workers in Brunei have been working in the country for a long time and their employers trust in them. Salary in Brunei is not high compared to other countries but the cost of living in the country is similar to Thailand. Thai workers there, therefore, can save a lot of money and send them home to their family.
He said Thai workers might not be attracted to come to work in Brunei now as the minimum wage in Thailand has increased to 300 baht per day while skilled workers could earn more than that level.
Meanwhile, Mr. Watcharapong Nanta, a Thai volunteer worker in Brunei, said Thai workers should earn at least BND$22 per day or some 550 baht in Brunei while skilled workers could earn some BND$35 per day or 875 baht, which is higher than workers from Bangladesh and Indonesia workers, who earn BND$15 and BND$17$ per day on average respectively. Local employers pay Thai workers a higher rate because they admire Thai workers for their hardworking and discipline.
The Secretary General of the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), Dr. Chaipruek Serirak, recently met and talked to 32 Indonesian boy scouts and girl guides who attended the ASEAN Scout Camp. He also met Thai scouts and extraordinary girl guides from Su-ngai Kolok Professional College and some from Bang Sai Agricultural and Technology College. The former were coordinators of the camp while the latter were buddies for foreign scouts at the camp.
Organized by OVEC, the ASEAN Scout Camp is a part of the 17th National Scout and Girl Guide Assembly held from 23 to 29 March 2013 at Wajirawuth Scout Camp in Sri Racha District, Cholburi. Boy scouts and girl guides from Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia are attending the event. It aims to broaden the horizons of the participants, to allow them to exchange knowledge and experience and to serve as a forum to develop knowledge, ability and capacity of good boy scouts and girl guides. Of all 4,000 boy scouts and extraordinary girl guides taking part in the activity, 50 are students from ASEAN countries.
The major activities which promote happy living with others and the skills needed by boy scouts and girl guides are categorized into 7 types: camper type, principal type, academic type, life-skill type, skill contest, recreation and pastimes. All the activities encourage vocational students from Thailand to practice their skills, learn how to work with others and endure any difficulty so that they become good people after graduation.
Sermsak Pongpanit received special videos, "For the Sake of Thailand" and "For the Queen with Power of Love" on 20 March 2013 at the Ministry of Education. Those videos will be used as teaching materials for schools under the MOE's supervision in southern Thailand.
The Secretary General of the Special Committee of the Royal Initiative Projects, Mr. Siwat Thep-arak provided the two videos, 3,000 of each title. The content is about their Majesties' work on national development to make Thai people happy. All the stories are told by Privy Councilors and those who have worked closely with their Majesties. The videos have already been broadcast via public television in Thailand.
Mr. Sermsak said that the special videos would create good understanding among students in southern Thailand regarding projects on education developed by their Majesties. After they watch the videos, the students will be grateful for their Majesties' kindness to all Thai people no matter what religions or nationalities they belong to. Mr. Sermsak also referred to His Majesty's statement on education for Thai youths. His Majesty once said, "Education is a crucial factor to create and develop the knowledge, thought, behavior and morality of each individual. If any country provides children with complete and good education, the country will prosper with good quality citizens and maintain its national stability in the future."
On 21 March 2013 in Hanoi, Vietnam, the Minister of Education, Mr. Phongthep Thepkanjana, along with the Minister of Education and Training from Vietnam, H.E. Prof. Dr. Pham Vu Luan, and the Director of the SEAMEO Secretariat, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vitthaya Jeeradechakul, presented a report on the 47th SEAMEC Meeting.
The Education Minister of Thailand said that the participants of this meeting considered and came up with resolutions on several issues. However, an issue that many participants emphasized was that of life-long education management. The participants proposed that this should be given to a specific group of people but not everyone. Yet, educational procedures should stimulate all people to realize the importance of education. For instance, Lao people prefer working to studying. However the higher the education they have, the more income they will earn. Moreover, IT is playing a crucial role in facilitating education access despite low technology in some countries.
Thailand has proposed that all member countries should cooperate with one another to develop software and applications on education which consume a lot of the budgets in each country. These products could be sold at reasonable prices. By so doing, education for all will become more possible. Moreover, seniors should learn how to develop themselves so that they will be able to earn an income when they are retired and can therefore remain independent.
In the next two years, education should be ready for the ASEAN Community. ASEAN people should have solidarity and unity with education as a mobilizing mechanism. The Ministry of Education of Thailand then proposed that ASEAN students should be allowed to study in ASEAN countries because they will develop skills in English and the native language of the country where they are taking courses. In addition, the students will learn about the traditional culture of the country where they are living.
As the chairperson of the SEAMEO Regional Center for Lifelong Learning (CELLL), the Vietnamese Education and Training Minister will act swiftly to promote the work of the Center and coordinate with other SEAMEO regional centers to support their work practically and effectively.
In terms of preparation for the ASEAN Community, the Vietnamese Education and Training Minister said that he would encourage educators to be active while maintaining the unity of ASEAN people and the identities of individual nations in this region.