Two Filipina lawmakers were elected to key standing committees of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) recently marking a significant milestone for the 19th Congress and Filipino women, as the feat coincided with the celebration of Women’s Month.
Senator Pia Cayetano was elected by fellow Members of Parliament to occupy a seat in the IPU’s Standing Committee on UN Affairs representing the Asia-Pacific Group (APG).
Meanwhile, Pangasinan Representative (third district) Maria Rachel Arenas was voted to the IPU’s Standing Committee on Sustainable Development.
“It’s an honor to be elected Bureau Member of the IPU’s Standing Committee on United Nations Affairs, representing the Asia-Pacific Group (APG),” said Cayetano, who also heads the Philippine Senate delegation to the 146th IPU Assembly in Manama, Bahrain.
The veteran legislator was voted to the 18-member panel alongside Japan’s Hitoshi Aoyagi.
“It was actually a twin victory for the Philippines.”
“I thank our Senate President, Juan Miguel Zubiri, who wrote to the chairs of ASEAN+3 and APG to drum up support for my candidacy,” the seasoned lawmaker said. “It was actually a twin victory for the Philippines, as Pangasinan Rep. Rachel Arenas was voted to the IPU’s Standing Committee on Sustainable Development.”
“The unprecedented election of two Filipinas to key IPU committees signals a vote of confidence in the leadership skills, not just of Filipinos, but of women as well, as the feat coincided with our celebration of Women’s Month,” the lady senator noted.
“I look forward to articulating the agenda and concerns of the Philippines and Asia-Pacific nations before the UN,” the lady senator concluded.
Formed in 2007, the IPU’s Committee on United Nations Affairs seeks to connect parliaments with UN activities and goals.
The panel is considered a ‘unique platform’ that allows Members of Parliament (MPs) to engage with senior UN officials and bridge the ‘democracy gap’ by communicating citizens’ voices in the UN’s global decision-making process.
The Committee consists of an 18-member bureau that monitors and reports on the involvement of parliaments in UN activities in areas concerning sustainable development, peacebuilding, UN budgets and reform, and human rights.
Cayetano previously served as President of the IPU’s Committee of Women Parliamentarians from 2008 to 2010 – the first Filipino and Asian to be elected to the position.
Actively engaged in inter-parliamentary work, Cayetano previously served as President of the IPU’s Committee of Women Parliamentarians from 2008 to 2010 – the first Filipino and Asian to be elected to the position.
She currently chairs the Asia and Pacific Regional Chapter of UNITE Parliamentarians Network for Global Health.