• Melo Acuna

ASEAN Leaders and Parliamentarians need to work together vs COVID-19

President Duterte calls on ASEAN Leaders’ and Parliamentarians to work and address COVID-19 concerns

MANILA – The Office of the President said President Rodrigo Duterte tougher with his ASEDAN counterparts, had a productive exchange of views and interface with representatives of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) at the 36th ASEAN Summit held today through videoconference.

The ASEAN leaders cited the important role of ASEAN legislatures in COVID-19 crisis management and response. President Duterte said that a pandemic of such massive scale and severity as COVID-19 involves close cooperation and coordination between the executive and the legislature.

He said the Philippine Congress was responsible for enacting the ‘Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” which made the government responsive to the emergency to cushion 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,” he said.

He underscored the need to institutionalize national preparedness and response mechanisms for pandemics and other hazards which include the creation of a Medical Reserve Corps and Stockpile of Strategic and Critical Materials through the legislature. He added the Philippines needs to amend the Labor Code, strengthen its social protection system, and update its economic regulations due to advances in ditigal economy.

President Duterte asked for support from 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 ben a crucial partner in this process. Let us then continue to foster this much-needed cohesive and responsive partnership,” he said.

The AIPA was founded in 1077 and has been a forum for inter-parliamentary friendship and cooperation among lawmakers from the ten (10) ASEAN Member countries. (Melo M. Acuña)

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at the 36th ASEAN Summit from the Malago Guesthouse at Malacanang Complex. (Screen grab from PCOO)

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