Press Release
April 20, 2008

Sen. Pia Cayetano unanimously elected President of IPU Women Parliamentarians

Senator Pia S. Cayetano of the Philippines was unanimously elected President of the Committee of Women Parliamentarians of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Thursday during its 118th General Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa.

Cayetano ran unopposed and was voted by acclamation, obtaining the unanimous support of delegates representing all the geopolitical groups comprising the committee: Asia Pacific, Latin America, Euroasia, Africa, Europe and the Arab Group.

"I feel deeply honored by this opportunity accorded me by my colleagues in the IPU to serve as its president and frame the agenda and steer discussions among women parliamentarians based on our common interests and advocacies," the senator said right after her election.

She became the very first Filipino and Asian to head the committee, which was formally organized in 1990 by women delegates to give them a permanent voice in the IPU.

Cayetano, previously elected First Vice President of the committee in 2006 at the IPU's 114th General Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, expressed her thanks to the women delegates who manifested support for her as the candidate of the Philippine delegation.

"I am humbled by their expression of support for and confidence in the Philippines' capability to lead the world's women's parliamentarians," she said.

She takes over from Uruguay's Monica Xavier, the outgoing president, and will serve a two-year term.

The lady senator has been actively involved in the IPU since presiding over the meeting of women parliamentarians at the Union's 112th General Assembly held in Manila in 2005.

In 2007, she spoke before the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (UNDAW) in New York on the issue of violence against women and children.

She was likewise a speaker at this year's assembly on the topic of maternal, infant and child health.

"The opportunity to make a serious difference is so real. Working with these women in high political positions all over the world who are equally passionate about breastfeeding, addressing maternal, infant and child mortality, and violence against women and children, can truly bring us closer to solutions," the senator said.

"My presentation alone on the migration of health professionals in the Philippines has already captured the attention of certain developed countries. Their (MPs) members of parliament have promised me they will look into their policies on Filipino health professionals who are lured to their countries," she added.

The IPU is an international organization of parliaments of sovereign states established in 1889, and is widely considered the world's very first permanent forum for multilateral cooperation. It currently counts 143 national parliaments as members, and seven regional parliamentary assemblies as associate members.

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