Global anti-corruption leaders to visit Manila in 5th GOPAC conference

Prominent parliamentarians from around the world are expected to attend the 5th International Conference of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), which will be held for the first time here in Manila. The conference, organized in cooperation with the Senate of the Philippines and the Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC), and with the full support of President Benigno S. Aquino III, will run from January 30 to February 2, 2013 at the Philippine International Convention Center. 

Good Leaders, Good Laws, Good Citizens is the theme of this year’s conference. The conference proper will be conducted for two days, with capacity-building workshops centered around it. John Williams, GOPAC founder and CEO, and Dr. Naser Al Sane, GOPAC Chair, will be joining the Manila Steering Committee along with an expected 500 international delegates from over 46 countries in debates and discussions on the following topics: Parliamentary Oversight and The Role of Good Audit in the Fight Against Corruption; Anti Money Laundering Laws v. Bank Secrecy; and Transparency in Public Procurement and Business and Civil Society Oversight.


The Philippines, through the initiative of Senator Edgardo Angara, has been actively participating in GOPAC’s activities for many years now. One of the most significant results that came out of this participation was the creation of the SEAPAC – GOPAC’s regional chapter that aims to lead anti-corruption efforts in Southeast Asia on a coordinated and institutional basis. This chapter was established in Manila in 2005 with the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam as members.

According to Angara, the conference is a rare opportunity for all participants, local and foreign, to share and learn from fellow parliamentarians who are steadfast in its fight against corruption in governance. He said that GOPAC’s agreement to hold its 5th conference in Manila is the international community’s way of recognizing the Aquino administration’s commitment to stamping out corruption that has stymied the nation’s growth for decades. He cited such government efforts as the strengthening of the Anti Money Laundering Act and the ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). He likewise emphasized on the need to restore public trust and confidence in governance not only within the Philippines, but in the global setting as well.

“By hosting the 2013 GOPAC conference, we hope to demonstrate our untiring and sincere efforts to cleanse our government of corrupt practices, abuse and misconduct, notwithstanding unfavorable past record of successive governments,” Angara said. “The world faces widespread unrest and growing distrust of government. It is our responsibility to restore trust and confidence in our public institutions to preserve stability, stimulate economic development and protect democracy.”

In Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, the Philippines ranked #129 out of 183 countries—an encouraging improvement from being previously ranked as #134. Angara, the organization’s only Philippine representative, was elected Vice Chair of the GOPAC Board of Directors in 2011. 

Part of the Manila conference’s thrust is to increase the number of members from the local legislature. Current members include Senator Loren Legarda (Member) and Senator Franklin Drilon (Member), as well as former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri (Secretary). Members from the Philippine Congress include Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Treasurer), Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara (founding member of SEAPAC), Rep. Acmad Tomawis, of Marawi City; Rep. Chona Cruz-Gonzales, sectoral representative of Citenzen's Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list; Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan, of the province of Benguet; and Rep. Nelson P. Collantes of Batangas.

Apart from Senator Angara, the Manila Steering Committee for the conference include Senator Franklin M. Drilon for Ways and Means; Ret. Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban for Program; Dr. Georgina Encanto for Public Information; Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, Atty. Roan Libarios and Atty. Raoul Angangco for Membership and Participation; Tourism Asst. Secretary Domingo Enerio for Reception, Transportation and Hospitality; Gen. Raul Bacalzo for Security and Medical Support; Atty. Avelino Cruz for Social Programs and Tours; Atty. Celia Villanueva and Mina Pangandaman for Registration; and Antonio de Duzman for Conference Venue and Logistics.


The SEAPAC has adopted a Regional Action Plan, covering four main components: institutionalization, knowledge building, reform dialogue, and the ratification of the UNCAC within its member-countries.

The group aims to further strengthen and extend its network of parliamentarians from the Southeast Asian region by building more chapters, ultimately pushing SEAPAC to become the authority in fighting corruption in the region. Member countries have the privilege to take advantage of the vast resources necessary to plan and implement legislative actions in accordance with SEAPAC objectives.
Ratification of the UNCAC in SEAPAC member-countries will make them become full-pledged parties to this landmark UN convention.  To date, the Philippines is only the second Southeast Asian country that has ratified the UNCAC, having been manifested by the Philippine Senate in November 2006.

No comments:

Post a Comment