Int'l parliamentarians arrive in Manila
Manila (29 September) -- Members of Parliament from eleven countries arrive today to attend the two-day conference of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) and the organizational meeting of the Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC) that will be held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza tomorrow.
The two-day event, attended by thirty-six foreign parliamentarians including Philippine Senators and Members of the House of Representative, together with leaders and other members of civil society, will focus on formulating strategies in combating corruption, promoting transparency and upholding public accountability and good governance among the organization?s member countries -- with parliament playing a key role in combating corruption.
SEAPAC, the Southeast Asian chapter of the GOPAC, was organized by Senator Edgardo J. Angara in Manila in 2005.
Among the expected results of the conference is the ratification of all member countries of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). The Senate of the Philippines has ratified and affirmed its commitment to UNCAC in 2006, led by Angara who is an Executive Board member of the GOPAC, as well as the Chair for SEAPAC.
"Using a toolkit developed by the GOPAC Global Task Force, each participant will be asked to present a written report on whether parliamentarians have the capacity to prevent corruption," Angara said.
"We need to assess the performance of every member country in their fight against corruption, their key strengths and weaknesses, as against their most recent anti-corruption initiative," Angara added, referring to a Toolkit developed by the GOPAC Global Task Force of parliamentarians, GOPAC and the Oslo office of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), that brings together GOPAC policy positions and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
This Toolkit provides a reporting framework that can be adapted to regional and national circumstances for parliamentarians to assess their own roles in preventing corruption through legislation, oversight and representation. It is also intended to facilitate the identification of strengths and weaknesses as well as areas for technical assistance and parliamentary strengthening in corruption prevention. It will also serve as a basis for the GOPAC Global Monitoring report. A regional parliamentary workshop on the toolkit was held in partnership with UNDP and others in Accra, Ghana in March. Workshops are also planned for Paraguay in July 2010 as well as the Philippines in the fall of 2010.
Angara also made mention of several bills that are currently being utilized by the Philippine government in its fight against corruption, such as the Government Procurement Law and the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Meanwhile, President Aquino is expected to sign into law the Freedom of Information Act, which makes it possible for ordinary citizens to have access to information on any government transaction or policy that affects the welfare of the Filipino people. (COMSTE) [top]