Priming Philippine Natural Products for the ASEAN Economic Community
From territorial disputes to the merging of economies, the Philippines in recent years has been keenly aware of its presence in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) for which it is a founding member. Within these two years, further strengthening of this bond will happen as the country with its neighbors enter ASEAN 2015, the initial phase of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
The 10-member states of the ASEAN recognized the need to consolidate itself for a stronger organization with improved leverage in worldwide affairs. With AEC, ASEAN envisions a region where there is free flow of goods, services, investment, capital and skilled labor. This goal based on mutual trust and concerted efforts will improve even the products of the region sold in the global market. And to prepare for this eventuality, the organization decided at the turn of the century to embark on Harmonization (Haq, 1999).
Harmonization involves a unified set of guidelines and regulations on products by which all member states are required to subscribe to. Under this GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) will be the quality assurance by which products are consistently manufactured to a quality appropriate for their intended use. Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) will allow the movement of products among ASEAN countries. Priority products were determined and the Philippines was assigned as coordinator for Electronics. Under Healthcare which is assigned to Singapore, the products included are cosmetics, traditional medicine and health supplements, prepared foodstuffs and medical devices (Cirunay, undated). In the intervening years between the formation of Pharmaceutical Product Working Group (PPWG) in 1999 and the present, terminologies and guidelines had been harmonized and barriers dismantled. By 2015, the trial implementation of AEC will start. By 2020, ASEAN will attain the Single Market, Single Production Base status it is aiming for.
“Priming Philippine Natural Products for the ASEAN Economic Community”, thus, is chosen as the Theme of the 18th NPSP Annual Convention slated on 6 December 2013 at the De La Salle University (DLSU) – Manila. This will provide natural products’ researchers a wholistic view of natural products development from basic science, applications, and pertinent regulations to successfully bring these products to the world market. The challenge is to be at par, or even better, without losing the edge as we develop our own niche in the AEC.. The theme is also in tune with our national government’s encouragement of entrepreneurship as we ride the crest of better economic growth in recent years. And DLSU, as a pillar university in business administration, is a fitting venue for the upcoming convention.
Cirunay JJN. ASEAN Harmonization – Unified Health Management Information [Internet]. Philippines: Food and Drug Administration; [Undated]. Available from: http://www.uhms2.doh.gov.ph/.../2nd-generics-summit-p. .PPT
Haq ASM. Pharmaceutical Harmonization – The ASEAN Initiative [Internet]. Malaysia: Ministry of Health; 1999. Available from: http: www.who.int./medicines /areas/ quality_safety/regulation_legislation/icdra/3_Malaysia_CopingWithIncreasingNeeds
For further inquiries, please contact:
18th NPSP Convention Secretariat
Dr. Ma. Alicia M. Aguinaldo
UST Research Center for Natural and Applied Sciences
T/F: (+632) 406-1611 local 4046 (Phytochemistry Lab)
National Organizing Committee
Dr. Lourdes B. Cardenas
Institute of Biological Sciences
University of the Philippines Los Banos, College, Laguna
Dr. Marissa Noel
De La Salle University - Manila
Taft Avenue, Manila
T/F: (+632) 524-4611 local 430