January 11, 2012
Drilon: A more peaceful region in store for South East Asian nations
Speaking before Asian parliamentarians, Sen. Franklin Drilon said yesterday that South East Asian countries can expect a more peaceful region if a Code of Conduct among claimants of the Kalayaan Islands is adopted by member countries.
Drilon, who led a Philippine delegation to the 20th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) in Tokyo, Japan, from January 8-12, said a legally binding Code of Conduct accepted by all ASEAN claimants of the west Philippine Sea will resolve a decades-old dispute in the region.
"As one of the fifteen founding members of the APPF, the Philippines recognizes that inter-parliamentary organizations are an indispensable medium of international and regional cooperation," Drilon, who is pushing for the approval of the Code of Conduct, said in his speech at the APPF meeting.
"In the November 2011 ASEAN summit, the Philippines proposed the establishment of a zone of peace, freedom and cooperation in the west Philippine Sea. Indonesia has declared that this proposal be linked with the drafting of a legally binding Code of Conduct," Drilon added.
"ASEAN leaders anticipate that the Code of Conduct will be adopted by the Asean claimant states this year," he added.
Drilon reiterated the country's commitment to maintain order and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and its support for a rules-based framework that ensures a peaceful resolution on various issues besetting the region.
He said the Asia-Pacific region has posted remarkable growth rates because it has been a relatively peaceful and harmonious community, showing considerable unity and stability, especially during times of crisis.
"As parliamentarians of the Asia-Pacific, we all face a common destiny. We are all committed to follow the same development path. It is imperative for us to explore different avenues to strengthen cooperation within the framework of the APPF," he stressed.
At the same time, Drilon urged APPF members to ratify international agreements on migrant rights such as the United Nations' Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and their families.
"The Philippines is widely acknowledged as a major supplier of human resource to the global economy. We attach special importance to the promotion and protection of the rights of our migrant workers, including protection from exploitation, abuse and violence," Drilon said.
"We seek rules governing the conduct of nations in the region as well as rules that will protect migrant workers in the Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world," he added.
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