Political parties as instruments for global peace

Published November 14, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Former House Speaker Jose C. De Venecia Jr.


Former Speaker of the House Jose C. De Venecia Jr.


(Remarks on Nov. 8, 2021 at the 20th founding anniversary celebration of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), which is composed of some 350 ruling, opposition and independent political parties from 52 countries in Asia, including the major political parties in the Philippines.

Founded and launched by Former Speaker De Venecia in Manila on Sept. 17-20, 2000, ICAPP has been promoting peace, security, and development in Asia through the channel of political parties.

The ICAPP has expanded its reach and influence not only in Asia but in other continents, with its working partnerships with the political parties of Latin America under the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean (COPPPAL), the Council of African Political Parties (CAPP), as well as various political parties in Europe. ICAPP had also begun exploring ways and means of cooperation with the US Democratic and Republican political parties.

The ICAPP has established various subsidiary groups, namely the Youth Wing, Women’s Wing, Media Forum, Asia Europe Political Forum (AEPF), Asian-Latin American (ICAPP-COPPPAL) Business Council, Asian Cultural Council (ACC), ICAPP Program for Disasters Assistance (IPDA), and the Tourism Promotion and Inter-City Cooperation (TOPIC) Council.

Former Speaker De Venecia serves as founding chairman and chairman of Standing Committee of the ICAPP since 2000).

Our ICAPP Co-Chairman, Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong; Vice Chairman and Special Rapporteur, Sen. Mushahid Hussain Sayed; Secretary General Cho Byung-jae; distinguished colleagues in the ICAPP Standing Committee; Our friends from COPPPAL, CAPP, and European Parliament; Excellencies, dear friends: Let me congratulate and express my profound gratitude to all of you, the leaders of political parties in Asia, for it is with your unwavering commitment and invaluable support that you and I, together, have achieved this historic milestone in our International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP).

Not only have we deepened our partnership in advancing the causes of peace, security, development, dialogue, understanding and cooperation among countries and peoples in Asia and the international community, we have also expanded our linkages with the political parties of Latin America, Africa, Europe, and hopefully, soon, North America.

A step towards an Asian Community

When we conceived ICAPP in the year 2000, not many people believed that it would be possible to bring together political parties – – governing and opposition, and with different ideologies – – under one roof in a common political house.

Yet the challenges we took did not deter us from pursuing our vision for Asia.

Our organization, which we founded and launched in Manila in September 17-20, 2000, is a small step, a modest beginning of our dream of building one community and one union for Asians.

Someday, hopefully, an Asian Community, an Asian Union.

Our willingness to listen and understand

Dear friends: Indeed, we have brought to our organization many disparate notions about the world we live in.

There are those among us who are at opposite ends of the political spectrum, and there are those who advocate change in society and those who oppose it.

History teaches us that since the earliest days of democracy, political groups had existed that offered what could be described as “differing opinions” on how best to serve the interest of the citizenry.

We know from history, too, that civil wars had been fought over such differences. In our time, residual groups such as these exist, but we believe that we can differ in our politics without fostering so much hostility.

For the overarching sentiment that has brought us here is our willingness to understand, our openness to listen amid the diversity of our views.

There are much more that unite us and bring us together

Such differences do not obliterate but in fact create the need for dialogue.

For truly, “despite our differences, there are much more that unite us than divide us.” What brings us together is far greater than what may drive us apart.

This historic coming together of our political parties makes us more optimistic than ever about the future of man and of our planet.

We in ICAPP are united by our collective desire and capacity to meet humanity’s greatest challenges in the modern age.

We are united by the goals that transcend national boundaries as well as interests that are embraced by all – – and we can see a few that we will have to fight on a global scale in years to come.

Goals and tasks embraced by all

Dear friends: We continue to struggle against global poverty, for while much of it has been wiped out, much, much more still have to be done to combat large-scale poverty in Asia, Latin America and Africa and even in the densely populated slums of the great Western cities.