19 September 2017 | Manila, Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers and delegates at the 38th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) on Saturdaydiscussed intensively the issues and challenges confronting the ASEAN region and the international community.

House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Farinas, Head of the Philippine Delegation, stressed the crucial role of parliamentarians in achieving the goals and objectives enshrined in the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, especially in enhancing regional security and strengthening economic policies.

“The ASEAN Community Vision 2025 will guide the region in the next years in taking a more pro-active leadership role in strengthening regional security and in aligning economic policies,” Farinas said.

“If ASEAN member states are to achieve their community-building aspirations, they will need the strong support and close cooperation of ASEAN parliamentarians,” he stressed.

According to Farinas, the problems and challenges facing a particular country adversely affect the international community, as the world is now globalized.

“In an increasingly globalized world, the challenges we face have repercussions across national borders, and each of us has a stake in the security and well-being of our people in the region,” he said.

Deputy Speaker Dato’ Sri Haji Ismail Mohamed Said of the Malaysian Parliament hailed AIPA as “the institutional embodiment of the people’s voice throughout the region.”
He urged AIPA and ASEAN to work closely in uplifting the lives of the people in the region.

He said AIPA has been contributing its share in achieving the goals of the three main pillars of ASEAN, namely, Political-Security, Socio-Cultural, and Economic.

Deputy Speaker Lim Biow Chuan of Singapore Parliament said AIPA “directly represents our people and provides the fundamental links between the peoples and the governments of ASEAN.”

He emphasized that the ASEAN will only be truly meaningful if its work and achievement redound to the benefits of the people, especially the ordinary ones.

He urged AIPA to “raise awareness of the ASEAN and translate the benefits of ASEAN’s community-building to the man in the street.”

Moreover, Lim urged delegates and participants to “find ways to ride on the digital revolution and new economic trends, such as e-commerce, building cyber-capabilities, and enhancing our cities to become smarter,” in order to keep the ASEAN economies forward-looking and more innovative.

Madam Tong Thi Phong, First Vice President of the National Assembly of Vietnam, urged AIPA and ASEAN to strengthen the spirit of solidarity, unity, and sense of responsibility in responding to the challenges to peace, security, and stability in the region.

She urged AIPA to focus on the following: (1) Promoting equitable growth for the ASEAN Community across all three pillars to become a driver in maintaining peace, stability, sustainable development and prosperity in the region, (2) Strengthening ASEAN solidarity and raising awareness about the ASEAN Community, and (3) Strengthening and upholding ASEAN’s centrality in the regional architecture.

Vice Speaker Fadli Izon of the Indonesian House of Representatives urged AIPA and ASEAN to continuously build and evolve their partnership approach.

“A constructive approach which demonstrates our objective, reflects our values, and explains who we are, and who are we working with,” he said.

Izon said the ASEAN community is confronted by five key challenges: (1) poverty, (2) socio-economic gaps, (3) climate change, (4) territorial dispute, and (5) internal conflict.

“Policy formulation and decision-making need to adapt with the ongoing challenges, focusing at the regional level to prevent the catastrophes,” he said.

“Yet, the most critical challenge is how to improve the capacity and the relationship of regional institutions to enable them to respond and to apply coherent actions collectively in an increasingly dynamic region,” he said further.

“A collective action plan involving both the legislative and the executives should be pursued in an unprecedented scale,” Izon urged.

Tobias Enverga Jr., Member of Parliament of Canada and Head of the Canadian Observer Delegation, said the partnership between the ASEAN and Canada has helped advance common causes such as regional integration, interfaith dialogue, transnational crime and counter-terrorism, and disaster risk management.

He said the ASEAN-Canada engagement has expanded contacts, open channels for dialogue, deepen diplomatic relations, and linked the ASEAN and Canada with the world.

“The parliamentary dimension of our engagement, by way of – for some of us – bilateral interactions at various multilateral fora and notably at the AIPA, offers an invaluable dimension to our efforts to deepen ties and mutual understanding,” Enverga said. (House of Representatives) 

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