MANILA–ASEAN lawmakers vowed to fully harmonize laws of the 10 member-states to align it with the agreements and commitments entered into by the regional block.
In a statement Saturday, Philippine House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who is the concurrent president of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), said the group, during its 38th annual meeting in Makati City Friday, reaffirmed its commitment to help achieve the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
This vision aims for “a cohesive and rules-based ASEAN community that is peaceful, secure and stable.”
“For this purpose, we have intensified our work towards fully harmonizing the laws of Member-States and achieving consensus on a code of conduct consistent with ASEAN agreements and commitments,” Pantaleon said.
On Friday, Alvarez said the draft message they plan to present during the interface meeting with ASEAN Leaders “sums up the milestone achievements of our collaboration and our unwavering commitment to pursue the goals of the ASEAN Community Vision”, which focuses on three pillars namely political-security, economics, and socio-cultural.
Among the issues AIPA wanted to highlight are the “full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Code of Conduct, freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea, improved maritime security; and a drug-free region by implementing the ASEAN Work Plan on Securing Communities against Illicit Drugs 2016 to 2025, he said.
Other topics as part of their message, include putting forward the need to promote “ASEAN centrality and unity, the need for a culture of peace, respect and dialogue to bridge differences, and to defuse tension and counter extremism.”
The message also include the integration of micro, small and medium enterprises to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), further measures for ASEAN Integration Work Plan III to narrow the socio-economic inequities in the region, the need to enhance human resource development to ensure access to skills development and lifelong learning, finalization of an ASEAN instrument on the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers, and operationalization of the disaster measure-focused ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response.
The lawmaker also said AIPA had committed to make the group “an effective vehicle to promote and maintain peace and stability in the region.”
”We look forward to a more active and relevant AIPA, and a more united and integrated ASEAN community,” he said.
Pantaleon thanked the delegates of this year’s AIPA meeting, citing that “their active participation has been crucial to the successful conduct of this year’s assembly, which centered on the theme “ASEAN and AIPA: Partnering for Inclusive Change.”
”We are grateful for their valuable inputs, which contributed siginificantly in the preparation and adoption of the message we delivered today during our interface with President Rodrigo Duterte and other Heads of State participating in the 30th ASEAN Summit.”
The 30th ASEAN Summit was held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.
ASEAN is a 50-year old regional block that groups 10 countries namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.