President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, September 19, graced the closing ceremony of the 38th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), highlighting the organization’s role in ensuring the success of the ASEAN Community.
In his speech at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel, the President said there are widening development gaps within countries and across the region that need to be dealt with.
President Duterte said it is important to make economic gains translate to tangible benefits and long-term improvements in the lives of ASEAN people.
He further noted that the region is faced with various traditional and non-traditional security risks that must be addressed effectively to preserve the gains of the ASEAN Community building.
“In this context, AIPA should be able to play a greater role in ensuring the success of the ASEAN Community,” Duterte said.
“You have in you an invaluable asset – your 40 years of working together to enhance inter-parliamentary solidarity contributes to the creation of a people-oriented, people-centered ASEAN,” he added.
The President also said the AIPA, as a parliamentary institution, could be encouraged to actively pursue the reforms needed to address structural problems and constraints that limit the gains from integration within the region.
At the same time, the President also called upon ASEAN and AIPA to further deepen their engagement and partnership to bring about the realization of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
The ASEAN Community Vision entails a united, inclusive, and resilient political-security community; a highly integrated and cohesive economic community; and a socio-cultural community that engages and benefits the peoples of ASEAN.
The President meanwhile highlighted the task of AIPA, which has “worked vigorously to support the work of ASEAN’s three community pillars.”
AIPA has helped speed up the ratification of the ASEAN agreements; has identified priority areas for legal harmonization, conducted thematic studies and fact-finding missions, given advice on matters affecting ASEAN and its members; and promoted engagement both at the national and regional levels.
The President also thanked the 38th AIPA General Assembly and expressed optimism that the recently held meetings of the organization will help ASEAN and AIPA widen the areas of cooperation.
“May this General Assembly strengthen the relationship between ASEAN and AIPA, and bring us all one step closer to realizing our aspiration of ‘One Vision, One Identity, and One Community,’” he said.
Prior to the closing rites, the AIPA heads of delegations paid a courtesy call on President Duterte.
During the meeting, the President pitched for regional unity.
He also raised issues such as destructive forms of mining, climate change, and security.
The President also expressed the need for dialogue to resolve the concerns with regard to the South China Sea issue and the rising tension in the Korean Peninsula.
Among the AIPA member country leaders that President Duterte met were Pehin Dato Haji Hasrin Haji Sabtu of Brunei; Samdech Akka Moha Pohn Chakrei Heng Samrin of Cambodia; Dr. Fadli Zon of Indonesia; Bounpone Sisoulath of Lao PDR; Dato’ Sri Haji Ismail Bin Mohamed Said of Malaysia; T. Khun Myatt of Myanmar; Representative Rodolfo Farinas of Philippines; Lim Biow Chuan of Singapore; Gen. Teeradej Meepien of Thailand; and Nguyen Thanh Hai of Vietnam.
AIPA Secretary General Isra Sunthornvut and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez were also present during the meeting. ###PND