As the 16th Congress opens, officials working in the Philippine Senate participated in a pioneering forum as part of a long-term plan of institutional engagement with the international community.
The senior Senate Secretariat officials and Committee Secretaries participated in a forum entitled, “The UK Parliament, Committees and Devolution: Parallels with the Philippine Legislature” at the British Embassy in Taguig City on August 28. This is the first of a series of activities that the Philippine Senate is pursuing to strengthen the capacity of its officials.
The forum offered a unique platform to exchange views on the differences and similarities of the UK and Philippine legislative systems. The forum also covered how devolution can strengthen governance and enhance local accountability. Professor Clarita Carlos, Ph.D. provided insightful comparative analysis on UK and Philippine legislatures citing the imperatives of strengthening the political parties to respond to the evolving demands for institutional accountability.
British Ambassador Designate Asif Ahmad said: “The UK’s best relationships around the world are with countries that are democratic such as the Philippines. This is a valuable learning opportunity for all of us to share our experiences, listen to our respective insights and draw useful comparisons. Around the world, we hear the growing demand for transparency and accountability, improvement in business environment and consistent application of the law. Institutions such as the Senate play a crucial role in responding to these challenges. I’m therefore delighted that the UK was invited to be a part of the institutional partnership the Senate is pursuing with international partners.”
One of the participants from the Senate, Chair of the Association of Committee Secretaries of the Senate of the Philippines (ACeS) Ambrosio Manaligod Jr., was interested to learn about the various levels of scrutiny in the UK Parliament and the UK’s process of devolution, particularly as the Philippines sets its own course with the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement. He said, “Devolution has meant the creation of a whole new level of decentralized government which has presented aspects of proportional representation, and enabled the devolved parliaments and assemblies to function as not mere replicas of the Westminster parliament.”