Press Release
October 16, 2019

On Senate President's Speech during the 141st IPU in Belgrade, Serbia

The Philippines will abide by international laws and stick to the rule of law over the rule of force in all its global dealings and commitment, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III has assured delegates to the 141st Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Belgrade, Serbia.

In his statement as head of the Philippine delegation, Sotto said: "The Philippines remains a steadfast believer in the equalizing power of international law and will continue to support the IPU and the United Nation's efforts to encourage governments to place their trust in international law and promote the primacy of the rule of law."

"International law is the cornerstone of a peaceful, orderly, secure and just world. It engenders the behavior of nations to follow the rule of law rather than impose their will through the rule of force. It encourages nations to pursue the path of negotiation, conciliation, and if the need arises, arbitration and adjudication," Sotto said.

The Senate President reminded member-nations that "the soundness of legal and ethical arguments must prevail over brute force" and pointed to how "countries outside the 'Great Powers' and developing states, like the Philippines, have turned to international law as the Great Equalizer." International law, Sotto stressed, significantly impacts on the continuing struggle of smaller states for equality with the rest of the world, especially amid the uncertainty and volatility brought about by globalization.

"'Strengthening International Law' (2019 IPU Assembly theme), is very timely as the world has become more globalized and, in a sense, more unpredictable. Increased trade among our nations and the emergence of a global culture has made us more interconnected and interdependent. However, the fast pace of change in our global world and the changing geopolitical landscape has also brought with it uncertainty and volatility," he said.

The veteran senator likewise noted how international laws influence the crafting of domestic laws.

"By adapting international benchmarks and standards, parliaments have the capacity to enact stronger protections for their citizens especially those who are most vulnerable to abuse and violence," Sotto said citing as example the "Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act" which he authored in response to the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

"As iron is strengthened by fire, international law is strengthened by parliaments. As parliamentarians, international law is embedded in our work. Our public stands to benefit from our increased understanding of international law and the better laws we will legislate," Sotto said.

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