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Where in the World is the Philippines?

Launch Date:  January 10, 2011
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Venue: Manila Polo Club

Where in the World is the Philippines? (Debating Its National Territory) is a book by Rodolfo C. Severino. A joint project of the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, the book explores issues relating to national territory.

Severino, who served as Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from 1998 to 2002, stresses the necessity of definitively establishing the limits and extent of the Philippines’ territorial and maritime boundaries for the sake of placing on much firmer footing national policies, negotiating positions, and rules of engagement for the protection of the maritime territory against encroachment and of the natural resources against poaching. The book illuminates important issues in the conduct of Philippine foreign relations, and sheds light on the Philippines’ relations with its immediate neighbors and on its most vital security interests.

Several of the issues raised by Severino have been examined in numerous books and articles; however, they have not been integrated in a single comprehensive work in which they are related to one another from a strategic standpoint. Nor have their implications for current policy, the national security, and the economy been spelled out.

Where in the World is the Philippines? is a seminal work in that it lays the foundations for policymaking on the most basic ground, that of the national territory. It will be the first book to view important national and foreign-policy questions in the light of the national territory. The book will be of use to policymakers in the government, official negotiators, the defense establishment, the fishing industry, the energy sector, and those concerned with the marine environment. At the same time, it illuminates the Philippines’ place in the world with a new light. Where in the World is the Philippines? would also be of interest to the academic community, especially those scholars and students who are concerned with territorial and maritime questions and with foreign-policy issues in general.

Rodolfo C. Severino is the head of the ASEAN Studies Centre at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore and a frequent speaker at international conferences in Asia and Europe. Before assuming the position of ASEAN Secretary-General, Severino was Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, the culmination of thirty-two years in the Philippine Foreign Service. He has a Master of Arts degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and is a member of the Advisory Board of The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs (the journal of the Fletcher School of Tufts University).

He has written, produced, and co-edited several other books, including one on ASEAN for ISEAS’ Southeast Asia Background Series; one on the ASEAN Regional Forum; Southeast Asia in Search of an ASEAN Community; Whither the Philippines in the 21st Century?; and Southeast Asia in a New Era. In addition to writing articles for journals and for the press, his views on ASEAN and Southeast Asia have also been published in ASEAN Today and Tomorrow.