July 07, 2008
ASEAN Secretary-General Speaks on Charter’s
Role in Forwarding Democratic Agenda
Calling himself the “cheerleader-in-chief” of the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
spoke of the importance of ASEAN in forwarding
the democratic agenda in the region during a reception in his honor.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), the Council
of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD)
Liberal Party of the Philippines (LP)
hosted the new ASEAN secretary-general
on 7 July 2008 at the FNF-CALD office in Makati City.
Dr. Pitsuwan said that in the face of the growing power of China
and India, ASEAN needed to become more relevant. It has thus created
a charter to respond to the challenges of the
region. He explained how the charter will give ASEAN a legal
personality and consolidate the collection
of diverse countries into a successful community.
Dr. Pitsuwan was pleased to announce the charter’s ratification
by six countries already and called on the Philippines to approve
Dr. Pitsuwan and Sen. MAR Roxas exchange ideas.
In light of the Philippines, as well as Thailand, Indonesia and
Myanmar’s, current hesitation, he agreed that the charter
could be better in terms of including more participation and protection
of human rights. However, he called it a starting point. “Don’t
make the good the enemy of the best. We expect the best out there,
but this is the good we can get. Let us begin here,” Dr. Pitsuwan
said. In order for ASEAN to deliver the values of individual
freedom, rule of law and good governance
, it has to be
significant. It can become so with a ratified charter. “The
price of liberal values in Southeast Asia is eternal vigilance
in support of an architecture we already have
. We have
to expand it and make it stronger.”
LP presidents, past and present, show their support. From
Left to Right:
Butch Abad, Bobby Tañada, MAR Roxas, Surin Pitsuwan,
Franklin Drilon and Raul Daza
LP President Manual “MAR” Roxas II responded to Dr.
Pitsuwan by expressing the commitment of the Liberal Party to the
ASEAN idea. The LP has a solid internationalist tradition and has
strongly contributed to the development of Philippine foreign policy.
This proud tradition was exemplified by the presence of almost all
of the LP’s past presidents: Governor Raul Daza, former Senator
Wigberto “Bobby” Tañada, former Department of
Education Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and former
Senator and CALD chairman Franklin Drilon. They expressed their
support for a liberal at the helm of the ASEAN secretariat
In fact, former Sen. Drilon pointed out that the event was more
of a homecoming as Dr. Pitsuwan was the founding chairman
. CALD takes pride in the fact that someone from
its ranks is shouldering the critical responsibility of helping
ASEAN break new ground.
Listen to Dr. Pitsuwan at: http://fnf.org.ph/podcast/news/episode-30.html