Press Release
September 23, 2010


MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Participants of the upcoming Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC) conference are expected to affirm their commitment to the global fight against corruption through a series of meetings that will equip lawmakers with tools to implement the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which the Philippines ratified in 2006. The GOPAC conference will start on September 30 and end on October 1, 2010, at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

According to Senator Edgardo Angara, founding President of the South East Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC), a non-profit organization established by the region's only Asian representative to GOPAC, "the two-day conference will help strengthen the region's fight against corruption."

"This event will be the perfect venue for the participants to assess whether the last GOPAC conference, held in Kuwait, made an impact on the region's fight against corruption," Angara added. According to Angara, participation of the Philippines, which ratified the UNCAC in 2006, in the SEAPAC meeting will allow the world to see that the country, under a new administration, is committed in the fight against corruption. "The fight against corruption is not an easy task and cannot be solved by one person alone. Corruption has a long reach, and the fight against it is a continuous struggle," Angara said. "We are committed to uphold the president's mandate to eradicate corruption in the country," Angara added.

Ratification of the UNCAC by all of GOPAC's member countries being one of the target achievements of the conference, participants are expected to discuss their country's parliamentary involvement in the domestication and implementation of the UNCAC.

"We will be discussing whether member parliaments are truly engaged in the planning and implementation of programs combating corruption," Angara said.

"We have to know, is there a monitoring system for each member country's national and anti-corruption strategy, and whether their parliaments involved in the monitoring efforts," Angara added.

According to Angara, government is obligated to report to parliament and the public on compliance and corrective actions being done to implement UNCAC's mandate. "Members of UNCAC are required to take on measures which will support the tracing, freezing, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of corruption."

"Countries like the Philippines are bound by the Convention to render specific forms of mutual legal assistance in gathering and transferring evidence for use in court, to extradite offenders," Angara explained.

"We are also mandated to constantly review actions taken in fighting corruption and at the same time maintain transparency by reporting the results to the public," Angara added.

Founded in October 2002 as a result of a Global Conference in Ottawa, Canada, GOPAC brought together over 170 parliamentarians and 400 observers dedicated to fighting corruption and improving good governance.

There are currently over 900 members of GOPAC, representing over 90 countries in all the regions of the world. They are current or former democratically elected members of parliament or democratically elected members of parliament who have been denied their right to take office.

The South East Asia Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC), born in Manila on March 31st, 2005 is one of the youngest chapters of the Ottawa-based Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC). As the only Asian representative in GOPAC's Executive Board at the time, Angara took the lead in organizing the Southeast Asian Chapter, and was elected its first President.

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