Cayetano, Arenas get elected to key Inter-Parliamentary Union panels  

Two women lawmakers, Senator Pia Cayetano and Pangasinan Rep. Maria Rachel Arenas have been elected to key standing committees of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on Saturday, March 11.

cayetano.jpg *Philippine Senator Pia S. Cayetano was elected Asia-Pacific Group (APG) representative to the 18-member IPU Standing Committee on UN Affairs. Meanwhile, Pangasinan Third District Rep. Rachel Arenas was also voted to the IPU Standing Committee on Sustainable Development. (Photo contributed by O/S Pia Cayetano)*

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), while Arenas was voted to the IPU's Standing Committee on Sustainable Development.

The two female lawmakers’ feat coincided with the country’s celebration of Women’s Month.

"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.

Cayetano was voted to the 18-member panel alongside Japan's Hitoshi Aoyagi. She, likewise, thanked Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, who wrote to the chairs of ASEAN+3 and APG to drum up support for her candidacy.

"It was actually a twin victory for the Philippines, as Pangasinan Rep. Rachel Arenas were voted to the IPU's Standing Committee on Sustainable Development,” Cayetano said.

"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,” she noted.

"I look forward to articulating the agenda and  concerns of the Philippines and Asia-Pacific nations before the UN," the senator also said.

Formed in 2007, the IPU's Committee on United Nations Affairs’ goal is to connect assemblies with UN activities and goals.

Caetano said 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.

It 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. Currently, the senator heads the Asia and Pacific Regional Chapter of UNITE Parliamentarians Network
for Global Health.