SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives is ready to make history as the host of the first-ever virtual meeting of the 11th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Caucus on August 14. Speaker Alan Peter “Compañero” Cayetano will deliver the opening address during the event, which carries the theme “We Heal As One: Parliamentary Cooperation Towards Mitigating Risks and Strengthening Economic Resilience in the Period of Pandemic".
AIPA aims for this meeting to deepen the parliamentary coordination on the pandemic's economic impact in Southeast Asia. It also seeks to assist in facilitating dialogues and consultations among member parliaments on economic recovery and resilience amid the COVID 19 pandemic as well as on other reforms towards boosting the capability of Southeast Asian member nations to surmount similar potential crises in the future.
Opening Session will begin at 9 a.m. with the singing of the Philippine National Anthem to be followed by the AIPA Song. AIPA Secretary-General Nguyen Tuong Van of Vietnam will then deliver her Welcome Remarks, to be followed by the Opening Address of Speaker Cayetano for the Philippines as host nation. Also on schedule is the appointment of Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu of the Philippines as Chairperson of the 11th AIPA Caucus.
Guided by the 11th AIPA Caucus theme, Speaker Cayetano is expected to highlight in his opening speech the contribution of the House of Representatives in the 18th Congress to the national as well as to the regional battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Topping the measures passed by the House this year to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was House Bill 6616, enacted as Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.” It declared the existence of a national emergency arising from the COVID-19 situation and granted the President with special powers to swiftly and effectively address the crisis.
By 10:50 a.m., the delegates will buckle down to work for the First Plenary Session. The Deputy Chairperson of the 11th AIPA Caucus would then be appointed after an introduction of the delegations. Following will be a discussion and approval of the Program of Activities and Agenda, and the appointment of the Chairperson of the Working Group Session will be made.
Subsequently, the AIPA member parliaments of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines will present their Country Reports on the Status of Implementation of the Resolutions adopted during 40th AIPA General Assembly held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2019.
The Working Group Session will follow with the delegates focusing on this year's caucus theme. Thereafter, AIPA Member Parliaments will present their Country Reports.
Capping the morning session would be a discussion on “National Initiatives and Possible Areas for Common Legislation.”
The Second Plenary Session is set for 3 p.m. when the Working Group Report would be presented. The resulting Draft Report of the 11th AIPA Caucus would then be considered and adopted.
The session ends with the virtual signing of the 11th AIPA Caucus Report by Heads of AIPA Delegations.
The Closing Session at 3:30 p.m. would be highlighted by the announcement of the 12th AIPA Caucus, the Acceptance Speech of the next host and the Closing Address of the Chairperson of the 11th AIPA Caucus.
The heads of delegations are Hon. Pehin Dato Haji Hasrin Haji Sabtu of Brunei Darussalam, Hon. Sokan Sok of Cambodia, Hon. Rohani Abdul Karim of Malaysia, Hon. Zaw Thein of Myanmar, Hon. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino of the Philippines, Hon. Virasakdi Futrakul of Thailand, and Hon. Nguyen Van Giau of Vietnam.
Members of the Philippine delegation are Hon. Ann Hofer, Hon. Stella Luz Quimbo, Hon. Jesus “Bong” Suntay, and Mr. Novel Bangsal as Delegation Secretary.
The 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 leaders of the parliamentary delegations of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand attending the Third ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Manila. AIPO was renamed as AIPA in 2006 during the 27th AIPO General Assembly held in Cebu City.
Established through the adoption of a resolution during the 28th AIPA General Assembly held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2007, the AIPA Caucus serves as a mechanism to develop regular interaction among AIPA Member Parliaments as well as between AIPA and the ASEAN. It promotes information sharing and exchanges to create common legislative ideas or proposals aimed at regional cooperation and growth. The discussions always center on common areas of concern of member-parliaments.