• John Luxton
International Trade


Honourable Mayor of Manila, Mr Alfredo Lim, Dr Josefina Ramos, Vice President of EAROPH Philippines and Seminar Chairperson, members of the Organising Committee, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen.

As the President of EAROPH it is an honour and pleasure for me to welcome you to the EAROPH Regional Seminar in Manila.

For me, it's great to be back, as I spent 4 years working in Malaysia and surrounding countries in the mid 1980's and I have plenty of good memories of time my family and I spent here.

It is my pleasure to assume the role of EAROPH President from the Hon Denis Marshall, my predecessor as Minister of Lands in the New Zealand Government. Denis sends his apologies that he could not be here also. He remembers the last EAROPH gathering in Auckland New Zealand with great affection.

We have gathered here a congregation of distinguished participants from the region's professionals engaged in the field of Building and Resource Management who are here to share and exchange their different experiences, with the view to improving the quality of the built and natural environment in the Asia Pacific Region.

I want to pay tribute to EAROPH and its continuing role in fostering the exchange of insights and experiences among countries in the EAROPH region. EAROPH play a crucial role as a non-governmental organisation, in increasing understandings between peoples of the countries in the Asia Pacific region. The contacts made through this organisation and many others allow the sharing of information about technical achievements and increase our understanding of each other's culture and economies.

In 1975, Manila played host as the venue for the EAROPH World Planning Congress with the theme on "Planning Human Settlements and the Environment for National Development". Dean Cesar H Cancio for the Philippines was elected as the President of EAROPH at the Congress. As such, Philippines has been associated with EAROPH since some time back. This Regional Seminar in Manila is in a way a catalyst in reviving EAROPH Philippines.

I congratulate Dr Josefina Ramos for setting up a pro-tem committee early this year with the Presidents of the chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (CREBA). The Philippine Council for Planning and Housing (PCPH), Philippines Institute of Architects (PIA), Philippines Institute of Environmental Planners (PIEP) and United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) as interim officers. Four of these are already organisation members of EAROPH. The issues in the Asia Pacific region are those that confront New Zealand as well. They are issues of trade, economic development, urban development, environment and social issues. World globalisation is continuing apace and countries' physical borders are no barrier now to the movement of currency, skills and information. This changing environment is an increasing challenge to those in government and in asset management to strike a balance between the economic development and the protection of the environment.

Today Asia is developing at a very fast rate. On the basis of World bank estimates of real GDP adjusted for differences in purchasing power parity, USA accounts for 21.3% of world output and developing Asia for 24.4%!

The income levels in Asia are rapidly catching up with the rest of the developed nations. The countries of East Asia have been doubling their per capita income every 10 years since the 1960's. By comparison, it took Britain and the USA 50 years to double their per capita income!

I'm sure that Asia's high level of investment will continue to promote rapid growth by boosting ratios of capital to labour and increasing the overall technical sophistication of the region's economy.

In line with this, the theme of this seminar "Asset management for Urban Sustainability and Nation Building" is very relevant and I congratulate the organisers for their choice.

EAROPH has deemed it necessary to hold a Regional Seminar on Asset Management as Asia continues to acquire infrastructure and building assets at a phenomenal rate. It is vital to focus greater attention on strategic planning, operation, maintenance and disposal aspects of development. This Seminar is geared to address these. Asset management is an holistic, multi-disciplinary endeavour which involves asset holders of both the government and private sectors. It is also the process of guiding the acquisition, use and disposal of assets to optimise all services delivery, support business objectives and to manage the related costs and risks over the entire life of assets. The same principles and practices apply to all physical assets, both natural and man-made. Papers and case studies will be presented by experts in asset management from Asia, Australia and New Zealand. I know that participants will find the Seminar of immense value.

I thank EAROPH Philippines for being the host and organiser of this Regional Seminar which is held in conjunction with the 30th EAROPH Executive Committee Meeting. This is an important EAROPH event for 1997 as it gives the opportunity fir our members from different countries to meet and interact annually and also enjoy the hospitality and fellowship of our Filipino friends. We are fortunate to have the historical and lovely Manila Hotel as the Seminar and Meeting venue.

Finally, I wish all participants in the Seminar well in the forthcoming discussions and events and I hope to participate in some myself.

Thank you