Where in the world is this paradise called Yogyakarta?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - September 9, 2015 - 10:00am

Dateline: Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia, 10 September 2015. Geographically located in the southern part of Central Java, this handsome city of 3.2 million Javanese is located below the equator, while our country of course is above. For three days, I'm billeted at the best hotel in town, the TENTREM, a Javanese word which means peace and tranquility. It is the auspicious venue of the HR Convention of about a thousand top executives representing oil and gas, power, transportation, banking, logistics, mining, education and health services, coming from as far north as Sumatra, to Kalemantan and as far southwest as the boundaries of East Timor.

South of this beautiful city is Bali and north is Jakarta. It may be the Cebu of Indonesia because of its culture, arts, music, foods, and the many centers of excellence in education. After my lecture yesterday, I gained a lot of friends in the HR community and I got many invitations to be their convention speakers as well as to conduct in-house seminars on the ASEAN Integration, which is becoming to be my specialization. I also met some delegates from Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos PDR, and Cambodia. We strolled around the city in the evening and bought batik and carvings, pieces of intricate art that identify us all as Malay.

Today, we are visiting the Sultan's Palace and we will be officially received by the royal chancellor. Then we will motor for two hours to the marvelous Boobudur temple, the world's biggest Buddhist temple, recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Then we are seeing Prambanan, the biggest compound of temples, then the Taman Sari Water Castle, a royal retreat. We will have a good view of the Merapi Volcano, bigger than Mayon and Kanlaon but ours is the more perfect cone. There is haze here now because of a gigantic forest fire in Sumatra. The foods are spicy and hot, the music is soothing to the soul and the dances rival our Sinulog, Dinagyang and Ati-atihan.

We are here trying to confer with our HR counterparts from the nine other ASEAN nations and explore the possibility of laying the foundations for a private enterprise-initiated ASEAN LABOUR CODE. The private sector represented by the HR executives and managers from the ten nations have taken upon themselves this initiative to formulate some convergent rules and regulations, which we shall push to our respective governments so that an ASEAN convention can be approved and ratified which hopefully shall be adopting a common set of rules governing talent acquisition or recruitment, wages and compensation and total rewards management, labor and industrial relations.

We, from the Philippines and our counterpart from Indonesia are the champions of this initiative. Somehow, we are repeating the historic signing of the Bangkok Declaration on August 8, 1966 when our own Foreign Affairs Secretary Narciso Ramos ( father of FVR), and Indonesia's vice president and Foreign secretary then, Adam Malik, together with Tunku Abdul Razak (father of incumbent Malaysian Prime Minister Najib), were the moving champions for the foundation of ASEAN. Here in Yogyakarta, the first seed of the ASEAN Labor Code has been planted. It may take years or even decades to nurture this to fruition. But, what matters most, is that the historic journey has begun.

ADAM MALIK BANGKOK DECLARATION CEBU OF INDONESIA CENTRAL JAVA DINAGYANG AND ATI EAST TIMOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY NARCISO RAMOS LABOR CODE MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER NAJIB MAYON AND KANLAON MERAPI VOLCANO
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