SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives is all set to host the 38th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentarians Assembly (AIPA) General Assembly in Manila this year, with the theme “ASEAN and AIPA: Partnering for Inclusive Change.”
The 38th AIPA General Assembly coincides with the 50th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which will be held also in the country following the Philippines’ assumption of the ASEAN chairmanship last year.
The AIPA General Assembly to be held later this year will be preceded by other AIPA activities such as the AIPA Preparatory Meeting and the ASEAN-AIPA Leaders’ Interface Meeting to be held from April 27 to 30, 2017 at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel.
AIPA was formed to support and contribute to the realization of ASEAN goals through inter-parliamentary cooperation.
In 1977, AIPA was founded as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO) by the leaders of the parliamentary delegations of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand attending the Third ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Manila.
In 2006, delegates to the 27th AIPO General Assembly held in Cebu City reached a consensus to change the organization’s name from AIPO to AIPA.
AIPA member-Parliaments are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It seeks to encourage understanding, cooperation, and close relations among member-Parliaments as well as Observer Member Parliaments and other legislative (parliamentary) organizations.
As host of this year’s AIPA, the country’s House of Representatives is tasked to draft committee resolutions that will be deliberated and agreed upon by delegates of AIPA member-states.
For years, the ASEAN and AIPA have been working closely together, especially towards the establishment of a truly genuine and progressive ASEAN Community whose foundation are the three pillars namely, ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).
According to Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) Director-General Dr. Romulo Miral, part of the continuing work is carried out by AIPA. From a parliamentary perspective, legislative support is important in completing the remaining deliverables of all three ASEAN Community pillars in the immediate term, he said.
“ASEAN parliamentarians are expected to work more closely in forging a broader consensus over a wide range of issues in the social, economic and political arenas. Committee resolutions in AIPA reflect the work being done to develop a regional identity and a stronger sense of common community,” said Miral.
Last year, the 37th AIPA General Assembly was hosted by Myanmar with His Excellency Mahn Winn Khaing Tann, Speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, the House of Representatives of Myanmar, as AIPA President.
House Deputy Speaker and Batangas Second District Rep. Raneo Abu, in behalf of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, accepted the AIPA Presidency which was turned over by Mahn.
On April 28, 2017, Alvarez, in his capacity as AIPA President, will deliver the opening and closing remarks for the AIPA Preparatory Meeting wherein the draft program of activities will be adopted while the draft AIPA Message will be considered.
Deputy Speaker and South Cotabato Second District Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez, the Head of Delegation of the Philippine National Group (PNG), will assist the Speaker in steering the orderly discussions for the finalization of the AIPA Message which will be delivered by the Speaker the next day.
House Majority Floor Leader and Ilocos Norte First District Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas will act as Rapporteur during the AIPA Preparatory Meeting.
Then on April 29, 2017, the opening ceremony for the 30th ASEAN Summit will be held in the morning while the Commencement of the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with representatives of AIPA will be held in the afternoon.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his capacity as the 30th ASEAN Summit chairman, will deliver the opening remarks for the ASEAN and AIPA Leaders’ Interface Meeting. Thereafter, Speaker Alvarez will deliver the AIPA Message.
Meanwhile, on July 4 to 8, 2017, the meeting of the AIPA Fact-Finding Committee (AIFOCOM) to Combat the Drug Menace will be held also in Manila.
The tasks of AIFOCOM are: facilitate the exchange of information and understanding among ASEAN member countries in their fight against the drug menace; compile and disseminate a list of laws within ASEAN related to the fight against the drug menace and to evaluate the pertinent legislation and enforcement needs of ASEAN member countries; encourage ASEAN member governments to make accessible their laws, policies and programs on drug control to the other member countries; monitor actions taken by member countries on the implementation of laws, policies and programs on drug eradication; consult with and/or request the assistance of international or national organization, scientific institutions and experts in the performance of its functions; and establish and maintain a working relationship with governmental and non-governmental organizations in combating the drug menace. / MVIP/RBB