Welcome to the Philippines ALA

Welcome Remarks of Retired Chief Justice ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN, Chairman, Philippine National Committee, ASEAN Law Association (ALA) during the Special Session of the ALA Governing Council to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held at the Manila Peninsula Hotel, Makati City on October 25, 2017

Your Honor, ALA President Avelino V. Cruz, Your Honor , ALA Secretary General Regina P. Geraldez, Your Honors, the Heads of Delegations and the Members of the various ALA National Committees, Your Honors, the Past ALA President, Your Honors, our Special Guests from ASLOM, AIPA, and China Law Society, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen.

On behalf of the Philippine National Committee of ALA, I welcome all of you to this Special Session of the ALA Governing Council to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). We are greatly honored and humbled that you have taken time from your busy schedules to be with us in the Philippines on this important milestone.

Many of you, especially our longtime ALA friends, have been to our country in the past. You have toured our Metro Manila environs as well as some of our touristic attractions like Tagaytay, Pagsanjan Rapids, Cebu and Boracay Island. Many of the ladies have shopped at the nearby Ayala Malls, Greenhills Center including the ubiquitous South Sea pearl stores there, as well as in the new malls in the Bonifacio Global City.

Our two-day commemorative meeting is too short to be able to schedule visits to similar places (although we will sponsor tours around the city for the first timers) but we will reserve those sites for our future meetings which I am sure would be convened soon enough. For now, however, the ALA, the Philippine National Committee and the Host Committee specially created for this Commemorative Session headed by our competent and hardworking Secretary General Gina Geraldez, has prepared for your enjoyment a unique program that started yesterday with our Welcome Dinner.

This morning, we are holding our official session at the ballroom of the Manila Peninsula Hotel to take up our business agenda, highlighted by a report on the Areas of Cooperation between ALA and ASLOM, an update on the ASEAN Legal System E-Book, a talk from the Secretary General of AIPA and similar matters. Not to be overlooked is a briefing by the Singapore National Committee on the preparations for our General Assembly next year in that country.

This afternoon will be extra special because we will motor to Malacanan Palace to listen to the keynote address by our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who is concurrently the incumbent ASEAN Chairman. After his speech, we will join him in fellowship during a Special Concert, a mixture of classical and contemporary music, specially prepared for this occasion. Our only son, Dr. Jose Artemio C. Panganiban III, a banker by profession (he is Executive Director at JP Morgan in NYC) and a pianist by passion, flew in a few days ago from his home in New York to play a classic piano piece by Brahms accompanied by the world famous Manila Symphony Orchestra. As piece de resistance, we hope to encourage President Duterte to sing his favorite song, also to be accompanied by the Manila Symphony Orchestra. Thereafter, we will enjoy Cocktails also at the Palace, while being serenaded with love songs from Asean and Broadway. From there, we will go back to the Manila Peninsula for our Gala Dinner.

Tomorrow, the golfers will troop early in the morning to the championship course of the Orchard Golf Club located about 30 kilometers south of Makati for our much anticipated ALA Golf Tournament.

ALA veteran Alfredo Lim, the incumbent President of the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corporation, is hosting the lunch at the Orchard Golf Club.

Apart from these official functions, may I add that all of us, the members of ALA Philippines, are excited to renew our personal friendships and bond. Some of our members have lately been recruited to serve in critical government offices, including several Cabinet members led by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, who is known to many of us by his nickname, “Bing Bong” because he has attended many ALA functions in the past. In fact, he had been a winner in a few of our golf tournaments. He will happily welcome us at the Malacanang Palace this afternoon. After all, as our “Little President,” he works in the Palace 24/7. Expected there also are several other Cabinet members including our Secretary of Justice, lawmakers and Supreme Court justices whom you will recognize because they too have attended past ALA events.

By the way, the proceedings in the Palace, from the President’s speech to the Musical Concert will be televised live. So, please wear your best smile and your national dress if possible. If not, business attire will be okay. The broadcast can be picked up by any national or international network and replayed anywhere, anytime without any cost or royalty. So, one of the international networks like CNN or BBC, or a television network in your home country could pick up and relay the broadcast. Your friends at home may see you working and having fun at the same time while attending our Commemorative Session and Concert.

Friends, ladies and gentlemen, let me close with an ardent reiteration of my most cordial welcome to all of you. Please join our discussions during our formal sessions, witness our proceedings at the Palace, listen to the commemorative concert, wallop a few balls at the Orchard Golf Club and most of all, always wear your best smile and enjoy your stay. Thank you and Mabuhay!

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