Press Release
June 19, 2006

Drilon to host over 100 international Liberal leaders in Manila conference

Senate President and Liberal Party of the Philippine head Franklin Drilon will play host to the biggest gathering ever of international Liberal Party leaders in Manila this week.

Over 100 leaders of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD), Liberal International (LI), and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) will converge for a series of meetings in Manila, Cavite Province and Tagaytay City from Wednesday, June 21 to Saturday, June 24, Drilon said.

Drilon added that the visiting liberals will include 30 members of Parliament and Senators, five incumbent ministers and a number of national and local officials from at least 30 countries. The host of the meetings is the LP with the support of the German liberal foundation, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), according to CALD Secretary General Bukidnon Rep. Neric Acosta, who is also LP Secretary Genera.

The main event is the joint CALD-ALDE-LI Meeting on June 22 focusing on Population, Migration and the Globalization of Labor which will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on Thursday, June 22 at 9:30 am. Former Philippine President Corazon C. Aquino will serve as keynote speaker.

Among the prominent Liberal leaders who will attend the meetings are The Lord Alderdice, President of the Liberal International, Member of the European Parliament Graham Watson, who is also ALDE leader; Dr. Wolfgang Gerhart, former leader of the German Liberal Party and current Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) Chair; former International Labor Organization (ILO) Chairman Chung Eui-yong, Dr. Yoo Jay Kun, MP of the ruling Uri Party of Korea; Malaysian Senator Dr. S. Vijayaratnam; Italian Member of the European Parliament Lappo Pistelli; and MP Sam Rainsy, leader of the Cambodian United Opposition and President of the Cambodian Sam Rainsy Party.

On June 23, there will be an international academic conference on Liberal Perspectives on Terrorism and Civil Liberties at Yuchengco Center of the De La Salle University in Manila. This event is organized by the Philippine liberal think tank, the National Institute for Policy Studies (NIPS) and De La Salle University. CALD and LI will have their respective closed-door Executive Committee meetings on June 24 in Tagaytay City.

Acosta said CALD is an organization of liberal and democratic political parties with members and observers from Burma, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand. CALD holds international conferences, workshops and missions in order to give liberal solutions to pressing problems in Asia.

ALDE, on the other hand, brings together politicians from the European Liberal and Democratic traditions to create the largest third force in the history of the European Parliament, challenging the historical dominance of the European Socialists and Christian Democrats, Acosta added. It is made up of 88 MEPS, and is led by Graham Watson. The political program of the ALDE focuses on the strengthening and reform of the European Union to make it more effective at home and abroad.

The Liberal International, Acosta pointed out, is the world federation of liberal political parties. Founded in 1947, it has become the pre-eminent network for promoting liberalism, strengthening liberal parties and for the promotion of liberal democracy around the world.

The Liberal Party of the Philippines (LP) is the current Chair Party and a founding member of CALD. It is the first Asian member of Liberal International. Drilon is the current Chairman of CALD while Acosta is the Secretary General.

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