Remarks delivered by retired Chief Justice ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN, Chairman of the Philippine National Committee of the Asean Law Association (ALA), during the 43rd Meeting of the ALA Governing Council held in person and online in Jakarta, Indonesia on October 3, 2022

The Honorable Chief Justice of Singapore Sundaresh Menon, our esteemed ALA President; the Honorable Chief Justice of Indonesia Mohammad Syarifuddin, our generous host for this momentous Meeting; the Honorable Heads and Members of the various delegations to the 43rd ALA Governing Council Meeting; Honorable Judge Paul Quan, ALA Secretary General; ladies and gentlemen:

       Good afternoon at magandang hapon po. At the outset, let me apologize profusely to our respected host, the Honorable Mohammad Syarifuddin, for my inability to honor his invitation to attend this meeting of our Governing Council in person. Despite my best effort, I could not be with you in person. I already made reservations on Philippine Airlines flight 539 from Manila to Jakarta that was scheduled to arrive in Jakarta last Saturday, October 1, 2022 at twelve noon. However, several days ago, Philippine Airlines notified us that the flight was “not going to be operational.” Thus, we tried to book on Singapore Airlines on the route Manila/Singapore/Jakarta. However, the connecting flight from Singapore to Jakarta was only one hour and ten minutes. I was willing to board the next flight which involved over five hours of waiting at the Changi Airport. Sadly, the flight was super full. Hence, to my extreme regret and utter disappointment, I had to cancel our trip, a cancellation that my staff earlier communicated to Mr. Swandy Halim of ALA Indonesia. I am also sorry to miss the Grand Dinner last night in honor of my good friend, retired Chief Justice Hatta Ali.

       Nonetheless, I would like to thank Chief Justice Syarifuddin for inviting me and the other heads of delegations, and for his hospitality and kindness in hosting this meeting of our Governing Council. As a memento our comity and friendship, may I invite him to visit the Philippines on a goodwill mission to meet the ALA Philippines members as well as to visit the incumbent Chief Justice and Members of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

       Now, I would like to greet the other chairpersons of the various delegations and heads of their respective National ALA Chapters for attending either in person or online. Over the years, I have always looked forward to our meetings as the positive way of achieving the goals and programs of our Association, as well as of strengthening our personal relationships.

       Later this afternoon, I will be eager to hear and discuss the reports of the Asean Law Institute, the Update on the ALA Guidelines on the Best Practices to Enforce Arbitral Awards within Asean, and the Update on the Asean Law Officials Meeting or ASLOM, as well as the Updates by the various Working Group Chairs, and the other matters on our Agenda.

       Let me now take this opportunity to introduce our delegation composed of over a dozen jurists, practicing lawyers, and academics. May I ask them to open their videos and waive online to show our appreciation in being able to participate in this ALA Governing Council Meeting.

       On behalf of the Philippine delegation, let me wish all of you, my honorable ALA colleagues, a pleasant and fruitful meeting and friendly exchange of ideas. I have attended over a dozen of our Governing Council meetings during the past several years, and I always look forward with enthusiasm and anticipation at every such meeting, especially this 43rd Meeting convened amid a COVID-19 virus that we, the peoples of this planet, will have to live with and adjust to. Finally, let me say our Filipino way of greeting our close friends: “Mabuhay po tayong lahat at maraming salamat po.”


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