Thursday, March 20, 2014

Drilon welcomes global parliamentarian action on international disputes

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon warmly welcomed the global community of parliamentarians’ initiative to enforce strict adherence to multilateral and international treaties, enabling decisive but peaceful resolution of international disputes.

The Senate leader expressed the country’s gratitude to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) as he formally addressed the parliamentarians from all over the world assembled at the 130th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Governing Council Assembly held from March 16-20, 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

As head of the Philippine delegation of legislators, Drilon hailed the creation of the IPU Standing Committee on United Nations (UN) Affairs which will involve parliamentarians in honoring the commitments of their governments in multilateral treaties and international agreements. The committee is intended to be “a productive forum for dialogue in the peaceful settlement of international disputes.”

He said: “The UN has earlier declared that the IPU is an essential partner in the promotion of the rule of law.  We parliamentarians, therefore, must do our utmost best as partners to espouse a rules-based regime as a way of maintaining peace in the world.”

Drilon, who is a member of the IPU Executive Committee, stressed that the IPU can greatly help resolve tension-filled territorial disputes between smaller nations making their case against “geopolitically dominant and influential” nations – and invited attention to Southeast Asia’s maritime contests. 

“Parliamentarians can help create a productive dialogue between the Philippines along with our other Southeast Asian neighbors, and more powerful nations,” he said.

Quoting British leader Margaret Thatcher, he said that lawmakers throughout the world must “remain vigilant against those who seek to replace the rule of law with the rule of force.” He emphasized that world peace can be maintained when “parliamentarians do their utmost best to espouse rules-based systems of governance.”   

His statements came after renewed strong messages by China to the Philippine government, regarding contested locations such as the Ayungin and Panatag (Scarborough) Shoals.   

Drilon expressed confidence on the IPU’s commitment to “peace, the supremacy of law and the protection of democracy”, citing the IPU’s historic relationship with the Philippine legislative branch, which began not long after the country first came under democratic rule – among the first in Asia – in 1898.   

“Our nation has a proud tradition of being a bastion of genuine democracy in Asia – one that has seen so many challenges – but has survived thanks to the strength of our people, and the unwavering support of groups like the IPU that firmly believe in the democratic ideals we all strive for,” he said.  

Believing that the Philippine Congress best represents the nation’s state of democracy, the Senate chief then said that he and his fellow lawmakers will “strive to ensure the continued relevance of the Congress in the lives of the Filipino people.”

“If Philippine democracy remains vibrant, it is because of our parliamentary institutions’ strong adherence to democratic principles," he stressed.

He then promised that the Philippine government –especially the Senate and the House of Representatives - will continue its “dynamic involvement in the IPU’s unending efforts for representative democracy.”

Meanwhile, Drilon reiterated the Philippine Government and the Filipino people’s sincere gratitude to the global community for their timely relief and assistance and continued support in the rebuilding of the communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

He showed great appreciation to nations such as the Unites States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Norway, Canada, Australia, South Korea and others for their ongoing efforts to “offer comfort to our distressed countrymen amid the suffering and pain, encouraging and inspiring Filipino families and entire communities to rebuild their lives.”

“For all these, the Filipino people are forever grateful for your compassion and generosity,” he said.

The other members of the Philippine delegation are Senator Pia Cayetano, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Congressman Rodolfo Fariñas, Congressman Isidro Ungab and Congressman Jorge John Banal.

Established in 1889, the IPU is an international organization of 163 members and 10 associate member parliaments, and acts as the focal point for worldwide inter-parliamentary dialogue. It works for “peace and cooperation among peoples, and for the firm establishment of representative democracy across the globe.”


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