SENATE President Vicente Sotto III cited the continued functioning of parliaments amid the COVID-19 unprecedented health emergency during the meeting of the Asia Pacific Group (APG) of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on Friday.
Sotto made the statement as he presided over the virtual APG meeting, which was also attended by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Congresswoman Anne Hofer, Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, all members of the Philippine Delegation to Governing Council. The other members of parliament who joined the meeting were from Australia, Cambodia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, and Thailand.
“We meet today under extraordinary times. Despite the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we all continue to try our best to perform our duties and responsibilities to our constituents. We must continue to keep parliament open and functioning,” Sotto said.
During the meeting, Sotto also announced that following the alphabetical rotation, Republic of Korea is next in line to hold the chairmanship of the 36-member APG-IPU for 2021.
The other members of the APG-IPU are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Fiji, Japan, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Palau, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.
The APG is one of the six geo-political groups in the IPU. The other groups are the Africa, Arab, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the so-called “Twelve Plus” Group consisting mostly of the Western European countries.
Sotto also urged the APG-IPU’s participation in the governing council meetings starting November 1. The IPU Governing Council will hold its 4-day extraordinary virtual session on November 1-4, 2020, where a new IPU President to replace Gabriela Cuevas Barron of Mexico will be elected.