President Rodrigo Roa Duterte highlighted Friday the vital role of legislatures in overcoming the impacts of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as he participated in the 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA).In a statement released by the Palace, it said that President Duterte, along with his ASEAN counterparts, “had a productive exchange of views and interface” with the representatives of AIPA during the summit conducted via videoconference.
The ASEAN heads of state underscored the key role of ASEAN legislatures in COVID-19 crisis management and response.
President Duterte stressed that a pandemic of such massive scale and severity as COVID-19 requires close cooperation and coordination between the executive and the legislature.
He lauded the Philippine Congress for enacting the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”, which enabled the government to implement timely emergency measures to mitigate the adverse impact of the crisis and save lives.
“COVID-19 is likely to stay with us in the foreseeable future. As we transition to the new normal and move towards recovery, we will once again need the support of the legislative branch,” the President said.
President Duterte cited key areas that need urgent legislative action, such as the institutionalization of national preparedness and response mechanisms for pandemics and other hazards. These include the creation of a Medical Reserve Corps and Stockpile of Strategic and Critical Materials.
He added that the Philippines also needs to amend its Labor Code, strengthen its social protection system, and update its economic regulations in view of advances in the digital economy.
The President also sought the support of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly in crafting an ASEAN comprehensive recovery plan.
“Over the past five decades, ASEAN has seen great progress and overcome many crises through solid cooperation. Our legislatures have definitely been a crucial partner in this
process. Let us then continue to foster this much-needed cohesive and responsive partnership,” he said.
Founded in 1977, AIPA is a forum for inter-parliamentary friendship and cooperation among lawmakers from the 10 ASEAN Member States. PND