Press Release
January 17, 2006

HKs Martin Lee, Thai MP to speak before
Liberal Regional Conference in Makati

Prominent liberal democrats from Asia will converge in Manila on Thursday, Jan. 19, to participate in a regional democracy forum commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Liberal Party of the Philippines, Senate President and party head Franklin Drilon said today.

Drilon said the prominent liberals who will speak before the Asian regional conference dubbed as Advancing Liberal Democracy in Asia are Martin Lee, a known democracy advocate of Hong Kong; Dr. Buranaj Smuthraks, a Member of Parliament of Thailand, Bukidnon Rep. Neric Acosta and former LP president and education secretary Florencio Butch Abad.

Also to deliver statements of support are Jasper Veen, secretary-general of Liberal International and Ronald Melnardus, country representative of the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation Manila Office.

The keynote speech will be delivered by Drilon. The conference will be held at the Dusit Hotel in Makati starting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19.

Drilon said liberal democrats from the Philippines and other Asian nations have been invited to participate in the regional conference that will discuss the role of democracy and democratic institutions in promoting better governance in the region.

In this conference, we expect liberal democrats to showcase the role played by liberal political parties in advancing the cause of democracy in Asia, Drilon said. The conference is sponsored by the National Institute for Policy Studies in cooperation with the FNF-Manila.

Lee is the founding chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic Party, the largest political party in the former British colony now an administrative region of the Peoples Republic of China. He will speak on the theme Sustaining Democratic Gains in Asia: The Role of Council of Asian Liberals (CALD) and Its Member Parties during the conference.

Lee was chairman of the United Democrats of Hong Kong which won the first-ever democratic elections to the territory's Legislative Council in 1991. Since then, the Democratic Party has won every set of elections held in Hong Kong and has received wide public support for its stance that Hong Kong must develop democratic institutions and preserve freedom, human rights and the rule of law if the territory is to continue to prosper as part of China.

Smutharaks, a member of the Democrat Party of Thailand, will talk on The Birth of Liberal Democracy in Asia and the Role of the Political Parties. He was secretary and senior policy advisor to former Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai.

Acosta will talk on Drawing the Asian Youth to the Liberal Democratic Movement; Reflecting on the Contributions of Filipino Liberals. Abad will tackle the topic The Liberal Party and Democratization in the Philippines: Some reflections from a Liberal.

The LP will celebrate its 60th anniversary with the theme Advancing the gains of Liberal Democracy in Asia: Marking the 60th Anniversary of the LP in the Philippines with a three-day celebration and activities starting Thursday, Jan. 19, that will culminate with a testimonial luncheon in honor of former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga, chairman emeritus of the party, on Saturday, Jan. 21.

One of the highlights of the celebration is an exhibit of Liberal Party photographs, campaign posters, press clippings and other collaterals from private collections that put into context the role of the party in contemporary Philippine history.

The exhibit will open to the public on Friday, Jan. 20 in Ali Mall in Cubao, Quezon City. An expanded catalogue with an authoritative summary chronicling the milestones of the Liberal Party will also be available at the exhibit.

Kalipi, the Young Liberals of the Philippines, are joining the anniversary celebration with a public forum and a book launch at the University of the Philippines on Monday, Jan 23. Entitled, The Filipino as a Liberal, this book contains the best contributions of an essay writing contest co-sponsored by Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

Following their forum at the UP campus, the Young Liberals of the Philippines will be joined by members of liberal youth wings from other Asian parties for an international workshop on how to strengthen the voice of youth organizations in political parties.

News Latest News Feed