The 38th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) General Assembly officially opens on Saturday at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel, with AIPA President and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III to welcome the delegates, while President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his keynote address at the closing rites on Tuesday.
The General Assembly is the third and last AIPA event hosted by the Philippine House of Representatives this year. Last April 27 to 30, it hosted the ASEAN-AIPA Leaders’ Interface and then the AIPA Fact-Finding Committee to Combat the Drug Menace (AIFOCOM) from July 4 to 8.
In his welcome address, the Speaker is expected to cite the accomplishments of AIPA this year in line with the organization’s foremost objectives which are to encourage understanding, cooperation, and close relations among Member-Parliaments, and build a cohesive and rules-based ASEAN community that is peaceful, secure and stable.
Alvarez is also expected to stress anew the importance of the AIPA collaboration and unwavering commitment to pursue the goals of the ASEAN Community Vision under the three pillars of the regional community: political-security, economics, and socio-cultural. The AIPA’s theme this year is “ASEAN and AIPA: Partnering for Inclusive Change.”
The Speaker may also emphasize the importance of the dialogues with Observer Countries who are sending their respective delegation this year. They are Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, European Parliament, Japan, Korea, India, Papua New Guinea, Russian federation and Timor Leste. The dialogues are significant, especially since their topics are: Strengthening cooperation in disaster management; and Combatting transnational crimes, particularly on cybersecurity, combating terrorism and violent extremism, trafficking in persons, illegal drugs, and fuel smuggling.
The AIPA General Assembly coincides with the 50th founding anniversary of the ASEAN which is also being held in the country following the Philippines’ assumption of the ASEAN chairmanship last year. President Duterte is the ASEAN Chair while Alvarez is the AIPA President this year.
For the 38th AIPA General Assembly, the House of Representatives will host the delegations from 10-Member Parliaments namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam; 11 Observer Parliaments; and Guests such as the ASEAN Secretariat, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI), and other international organizations.
The delegates have started arriving in Manila on Thursday. On Friday, several meetings will be held by the following: AIPA Executive Committee; Women Parliamentarians of AIPA (WAIPA); AIPA Secretary General Isra Sunthornvut with the National Secretariats of the AIPA Member Countries.
Alvarez as AIPA President will preside over the Executive Committee Meeting. Following traditions, the Head of Delegation of Singapore is designated as Vice President. The Rapporteur is Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua (Lone District, Quirino), chairman of the AIPA Organizing Committee. The Philippines will be represented in Executive Committee by Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Head of Delegation; and Deputy Speakers Ferdinand Hernandez and Raneo Abu.
For the WAIPA Meeting, all female delegates are expected to attend it. AIPA President Alvarez will initially preside over the meeting, and appoints Deputy Speaker Linabelle Ruth Villarica as WAIPA Chairperson. There will be deliberation on the Resolution on Promoting the Health of Women Migrant Workers. Other resolutions may be proposed by the AIPA Member Countries.
On Saturday, the Heads of AIPA Member Delegations and the AIPA Secretary-General will pay a courtesy call on Alvarez in the morning. This will be followed by the courtesy call on the Speaker by the Heads of AIPA Observer Delegations and the ASEAN Secretary General.
The Opening Ceremony of the 38th AIPA General Assembly will follow, with the welcome address to be delivered by Alvarez while the opening remarks by Pimentel.
In the afternoon, the first plenary session will be held with the following activities: introduction of delegations; nomination of Vice-Presidents of the 38th AIPA General Assembly; statements of Heads of AIPA Member Delegations; statements of the Heads of Observer Delegations; statements by the Guests of the Host; discussion and approval of Program of Activities, Agenda, and Membership of Committees for the 38th AIPA General Assembly, and Topics for Dialogues with Observer Countries.
On Sunday, simultaneous meetings will be held by the committees on political matters, economic matters, social matters, and organizational matters. The meetings will discuss and adopt Resolutions proposed by the different AIPA Member Countries, or deferred during the 37th AIPA General Assembly. Discussions are based on the agenda approved by the Executive Committee.
Among the proposed resolutions are from Indonesia, Combating Marine Plastic Debris and Microplastic, and Humanitarian Crisis in Myanmar; from the Philippines, Intra-Regional Cooperation Against Fuel Smuggling, and Developing Policies and Strategies to Address Problems on Regional Food Security; and from Thailand, Collection and Exchange of Information on Laws of AIPA.
On the part of the AIPA Secretariat, among its expected referrals are : Report of the ASEAN-AIPA Interface at the 30th ASEAN Summit; Report of the 9th AIPA Caucus Meeting; Report of the 13thAIFOCOM; Amendments to the Statutes of the AIPA; Appreciating the Service of Speaker Alvarez as AIPA President from Sept. 2016 to Sept. 2017; Date and venue of the 39th General Assembly.
These will be followed by dialogues with AIPA Observer Countries to be held in two batches. First batch: Australia, Belarus, Canada, People’s Republic of China, European Parliament, and Japan. Second Batch: Republic of Korea, India, Papua New Guinea, Russian Federation, and Timor Leste.
On Monday, the Committee on Joint Communique will hold its meeting. The Joint Communique is a condensed version of the Report of the General Assembly. A working draft is prepared by the Secretariat, and the Committee on Joint Communique will discuss its content prior to presentation during the Second Plenary Session.
On Tuesday, the second Plenary Session will be held for the presentation and adoption of reports by the Women Parliamentarians of AIPA; the Committee on Political Matters; Committee on Economic Matters; Committee on Social Matters, Committee on Organizational Matters; Committee on Dialogue with Observer Countries; and Committee on Joint Communique.
These will be followed by the conferment of the AIPA Distinguished Award; presentation of the AIPA 40th Anniversary Commemorative Book; Launching of the new AIPA logo; announcement of the date and venue of the 39th AIPA General Assembly; signing of the Joint Communique by the AIPA President and Heads of Delegations; and courtesy call on President Duterte by leaders of AIPA Member Countries, AIPA Secretary General and ASEAN Secretary General.
The Closing Ceremony will then follow, with Alvarez to deliver the closing speech. Thereafter, the incoming President of the 39th AIPA General Assembly will give his acceptance speech.
President Duterte will then deliver his keynote address. (Congress-PR)