Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez today spearheaded the preparatory meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) at the Makati Shangri-la for the approval of the draft of their message for the ASEAN-AIPA Interface on Saturday, April 29, 2017.
In his opening remarks, Alvarez thanked the delegates from AIPA Member-Parliaments, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, for their participation in the meeting.
“I sincerely hope that our preparatory meeting today to finalize our message for tomorrow’s ASEAN-AIPA Interface will not be as difficult for I truly believe we have done our homework, in a manner of speaking,” said Alvarez, who is the incumbent AIPA President.
He noted that the inputs and comments from the various delegations have been incorporated in the draft message.
“With the highest interests of our people in mind, once more, let me welcome all of you and express our collective aspiration — that our meeting today and the Interface tomorrow between the ASEAN Leaders and the AIPA be a truly great and unqualified success,” Alvarez said.
According to Alvarez, the draft message “sums up the milestone achievements of our collaboration and our 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.
Under the Political-Security Pillar, the AIPA draft message stresses the importance of building a regional architecture that promotes ASEAN centrality and unity, the need for a culture of peace, respect and dialogue to bridge differences, and to defuse tension and counter extremism.
The same pillar also calls for mutual respect for independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of ASEAN Member- States, full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Code of Conduct, freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea, improved maritime security; and a drug-free region by implementing the ASEAN Work Plan on Securing Communities against Illicit Drugs 2016 to 2025.
For the Economic Pillar, the draft AIPA message focuses on the following: first, the promotion of entrepreneurship and human capital development to integrate Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to the ASEAN Economic Community; and second, support for the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration Work Plan III to narrow the socio-economic inequities in the region.
As for the Socio-Cultural Pillar, the draft message of the ASEAN lawmakers seeks to emphasize the need to strengthen human resource development to promote access to skills development and lifelong learning; finalization of an ASEAN instrument on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers that recognizes and promotes universal human rights and fundamental principles and rights at work in labor migration; and operationalization of the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response, which underscores the commitment of ASEAN to respond to disasters within and outside the region in a unified and integrated manner.
Alvarez said the existing ASEAN-AIPA interface remains highly important in enhancing and advocating people’s participation in the ASEAN community building process.
“Let me take this opportunity to thank all of you for your participation in this important exercise. To my mind, the key to both our present and future success lies in the ever-improving relationship between ASEAN and AIPA,” Alvarez said. – House of Representatives Philippines