House to make history with 11th AIPA hosting

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 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 be 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 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.

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” Sunta, 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.