November 25, 2023

To all our honorable delegates and friends, fellow workers in parliamentary work, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. It is both an honor and privilege to have been designated as the Chairperson of the Drafting Committee of the 31st Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF), a key role in shaping the final text of the draft resolutions submitted by our fellow parliamentarians from the Asia Pacific region.

Efforts were made by the Drafting Committee to encapsulate the substantial work undertaken in the past days within the draft joint communiqué, which will be submitted for consideration, adoption, and subsequent release as we conclude the proceedings of the 31st APPF annual meeting.

For this year’s APPF, the Secretariat received a total of 37 proposed resolutions from 10 member parliaments. The Executive Committee made the decision to defer one of the resolutions filed this year (on the subject of Nazism), to be considered at the next Annual Meeting.

The Drafting Committee received and adopted 6 consolidated resolutions referred by the four working groups. The resolutions, spanning critical topics, are as follows:
1. Combatting Transnational Crimes;
2. Women’s Participation and Leadership;
3. Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals;
4. Rethinking critical infrastructure;
5. Regional cooperation on Universal Health Care; and
6. Regional Cooperation on Education and Culture
These resolutions received overwhelming approval from the Drafting Committee, with some countries expressing their intent to co-sponsor.

Moreover, four (4) other resolutions submitted by the working groups required further discussion due to their paramount importance to all delegations and communities in the Asia Pacific region. Diligent efforts were made within the Drafting Committee to provide a platform that will allow divergent views to be heard, fostering discussions to clarify positions and convergences to achieve consensus. Through the collaborative engagement of all stakeholders, the Drafting Committee successfully identified common ground among delegations, reflecting our collective commitments and shared aspirations across various critical issues on peace and security, climate change, combatting transnational crimes, education and culture, universal health coverage, human capital development, and other issues such as the blue economy. These resolutions refer to:

1. Enhancing Regional Cooperation on Climate Action, Biodiversity Conservation, and Disaster Risk Reduction;
2. Korean Peninsula;
3. Human Capital Development and Inclusive Growth; and
4. Strengthening the Capacity of Parliaments to Promote Peace and Stability.

The resolution of these issues reflects the commitment of all APPF member parliaments to constructive dialogue and compromise, highlighting the spirit of cooperation that underlies our collective pursuit of shared objectives.

This collaborative achievement reinforces our belief in the effectiveness of parliamentary diplomacy and the power of consensus-building in addressing complex challenges.

No Deferred Resolutions
We are very pleased to report that, despite the challenges, there were zero resolutions that had to be deferred due to an impasse. The committee tried to find common ground that allowed level-headed discussions for all disagreeing opinions and, despite time constraints, was able to have all resolutions approved at the level of the Drafting Committee.

Young Parliamentarians
To our young parliamentarians, your active participation is crucial for shaping the future proceedings of the APPF. Learn from the experienced voices present here, particularly the women parliamentarians who have paved the way for common advocacies.

Take this opportunity to build networks, and contribute to the collaborative and impactful parliamentary work. Your involvement today paves the way for a stronger, more inclusive future for the APPF.


Closing Remarks
Allow me to express my sincerest gratitude to all the delegates for your active participation and patience during the deliberations of the Drafting Committee and its Working Groups. Your commitment of time, energy, and intellectual effort in crafting resolutions that will significantly impact the Asia-Pacific Region is truly commendable. I express gratitude for your unwavering dedication, even during breaks, particularly when navigating through complex topics that sparked extended discussions.

I would also like to express my sincere appreciation for the invaluable insights and wisdom contributed by my co-chair, Congressman Lorenz Defensor. His thoughtful collaboration and guidance have been instrumental throughout our collective efforts in steering the proceedings of this committee. Together, we have harnessed a wealth of perspectives to shape meaningful outcomes.

I am confident you stand with me in acknowledging that the text of the adopted resolutions emerged not just through consensus but also in strict adherence to the unanimity principle mandated by the APPF Rules. Every partial reservation and minority opinion has been duly noted and reflected.

Therefore, to our dear Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri and House Speaker Martin Romualdez, there are altogether 10 draft resolutions on the table submitted for the approval of this APPF Annual Meeting.

I believe with the hard work of the Drafting Committee, we have achieved a comprehensive set of outcomes that highlight our strong resolve to pursue “Resilient Partnerships for Peace, Prosperity, and Sustainability,” that would ensure a future of possibilities for inclusive, humane, secure, healthy, and resilient societies and communities in the Asia Pacific region.

Thank you.