GOPAC in Manila - ‘Good Leaders, Good Laws, and Good Citizens’
The above was a slogan used at the recent 5th Global Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC) Conference held in Manila from January 30 – 2 February 2013. This year the focus of GOPAC was on empowering leadership in parliament, civil society and anti-corruption organisations all over the world. According to the World Bank Institute bribes alone cost the global economy about US$1 trillion and according to the previous Chair of GOPAC, Mr Naser Al-Sane, this ‘denies citizens the use of the use of their own resources’ and ‘shakes their belief in the democratic system’.
Standing are some of the Embassy Staff (L-R): Abbey Cruz, Marife Cuadra, Hayden Mulaudzi, Leila Custodio,
Attending the conference from South Africa was former MP Mr Gavin Woods who is a Commissioner in the current Public Service Commission and Ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso. Parliamentarians from 78 countries attended the conference, 28% (22) of which were from the African continent. During the deliberations, South Africa was cited positively and during the Session on the “Role of Women Parliamentarians and the GOPAC Women Network”, for achieving a high number of empowered women in government.
There seemed to be a belief that women make better parliamentarians as they tend to be ‘less corrupt’. However, reference to some corrupt women parliamentarians shattered this assumption. Delegates also shared their challenges, successes and how they contributed to combating corruption in their respective countries. As a way forward, several resolutions, which would enhance the work of GOPAC and all its regional chapters, were adopted. Senator Edgardo Angara from the Philippines was nominated as the new GOPAC Chair.