PH senators to skip global lawmakers assembly over coronavirus threat
MANILA, Philippines – At least 4 Philippine senators will skip the bi-annual Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) 142nd Assembly in April because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat.
In separate statements, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senator Panfilo Lacson, and Senator Joel Villanueva said they will not attend the IPU assembly this year because of the outbreak.
The first IPU assembly this year is set to happen from April 16 to 20 in Geneva, Switzerland. (READ: Traveling soon? Here's how you can protect yourself from the coronavirus)
Sotto is set to chair the Asia-Pacific Group, composed of 36 member-states, for the assembly in Geneva, as well as in Kigali, Rwanda in October this year.
According to Drilon, the IPU executive committee is "reviewing the situation and may decide not to convene the assembly due to the Covid-19 outbreak."
In Iran, two lawmakers died from coronavirus.
"Note that there about about 1,000 parliamentarians and staff from all over the world who usually attend the assembly," Drilon added.
Headed by Mexican MP Gabriela Cuevas Barron, the bi-annual assembly brings together lawmakers from across the globe to "address and drive change on issues on the international agenda," according to the IPU website.
Last October, 11 senators joined the global lawmakers' assembly in Belgrade, Serbia.
This included Sotto, Drilon, Lacson, Villanueva, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senators Sonny Angara, Sherwin Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, and Imee Marcos.
The virus have infected more than 102,000 people globally, over 80,000 of which came from China. Of the total figure, more than 57,000 people have been declared free of the virus, with over 55,000 recoveries coming from China. – Rappler.com