Press Release
September 15, 2010

Senate joins world in celebrating 3rd International Day of Democracy

The Senate today adopted Resolution expressing the sense of the Senate in joining the community of nations and parliaments around the world in today's celebration of the 3rd International Day of Democracy.

Senator Franklin Drilon, who sponsored Senate Resolution No. 171, said the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) adopted in 1997 the Universal Declaration on Democracy which affirms the principles, elements and exercise of, as well as the universality of democracy.

In the resolution, Drilon noted that in 2007, the United Nations declared September 15 of each year as the International Day of Democracy and invited all member-states and organizations to commemorate the day with meaningful activities involving the citizenry, aimed at raising public awareness on its importance.

"Under the IPU Declaration, democracy is defined as a universal goal and ideal, based on common aspirations shared by all peoples in the world community regardless of cultural, political, social and economic differences," said Drilon in his sponsorship speech.

The IPU is the international organization of parliaments that was established in 1889. It serves as a focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue and works for peace and co-operation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy. Drilon, a former Senate President, was elected president of the 112th IPU General Assembly that was held in Manila in April 2005.

"It (democracy) is intrinsically anchored on the right of each citizen to exercise certain basic privileges and duties under the reign of freedom, equality, transparency and responsibility, while always respecting the diversity of views brought about by cultural and religious affiliations," Drilon added, alluding to President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino's policy of transparency and good governance.

The resolution also said this year's theme, "Political accountability: Forging links between parliaments and citizens," reaffirms the "crucial role of parliaments as the voice of the people, as they represent the interests and safeguard the rights of the people through intense scrutiny of legislative proposals; inquiries into governmental misdeeds and abuses; and enhancing and revising measures to uplift the lives of the people." "Public accountability is essential to democracy and applies to all those who hold public authority, whether elected or non-elected," Drilon said.

"Public accountability means that Senators and members of the House of Representatives are accountable to the 90 million Filipinos and therefore must protect the national interest and promote the welfare of the Filipino people," Drilon added.

Replying to a recent Amnesty International statement that the "Philippines continues to be perceived as having serious problems of corruption," the resolution stated that "there is a need for intergovernmental efforts to confront and address the systemic problems of corruption through joint executive, congressional, and judicial reforms, as well as implement measures to achieve a culture of transparency and accountability in public service."

According to the resolution, "the International Day of Democracy provides an opportune time for the Senate, as the bastion of democracy to lead the nation, in solidarity with the global community, in inculcating to its citizens the lofty ideals and attributes of democracy and model itself as an institution with a high sense of public trust and accountability."

"By opening our doors to the public, our people will have a better appreciation of what we are doing in Congress," Drilon added, saying that "an accountable and transparent Congress will surely earn the trust and respect of our people."

"In adopting the resolution, the Senate believes that the International Day of Democracy will inspire all Filipinos to remain vigilant in protecting our democratic institutions and to remind all public servants that they are accountable to the people," Drilon added.

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