LP-Philippines is new chair of alliance of liberal democratic political parties in Asia

AFTER TWO years of service, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of Taiwan, hands over the chair party role of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) to the Liberal Party (LP) of the Philippines.

CALD, the only regional alliance of liberal and democratic political parties in Asia, on Wednesday announced the appointment LP-Philippines as the new chair of CALD during its online 41st CALD Executive Committee meeting on 30 June 2020.

Outgoing CALD chair and Taiwan Ambassador to the US, Bi-Khim Hsiao, facilitated the CALD 2020 leadership transition.

“I think 2020 will mark a year in history of dramatic changes and challenges in Asia. I want to thank Senator Kiko [Pangilinan] and the Liberal Party of the Philippines for asserting this duty and the chairmanship of CALD and for carrying on the important battle to sustain liberalism and democracy in Asia,” Hsiao said.

LP-Philippines is a founding member of CALD and an active member of Liberal International.

Senator Pangilinan, LP’s incumbent party president, welcomed his party’s leadership role in CALD.

“While leadership may sometimes be a burden and always a duty, it is also a collective undertaking that if handled conscientiously, could lead to something worthwhile and significant,” Pangilinan said.

This is the third time that LP will take on the leadership role in CALD.

Senator Pangilinan accepted the hand-over on behalf of the LP-Philippines.

“A healthy community of people and nations require a vibrant democracy — a living and life-giving democracy that is relevant in our people’s everyday lives, a democracy that brings hope, a meaningful democracy that empowers people to chart their own destinies and tell their own stories,” Pangilinan said.

“This relevant, hopeful, and empowering democracy is what our people need, and so, what the Liberal Party-Philippines will endeavor to provide as it chairs the CALD in two years,” he added.

For a term of two years, Pangilinan will serve as CALD chairperson, and Francis Gerald “Blue” Abaya, LP vice president for international affairs, as CALD secretary general.


Early assumption

Aside from LP, CALD member-parties include the Democrat Party of Thailand, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of Taiwan, Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, Singapore Democratic Party, Sam Rainsy Party / Cambodia National Rescue Party, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, Civil Will-Green Party of Mongolia, and the Nation Awakening Party of Indonesia.

DPP of Taiwan, the outgoing CALD chair-party, was set to end its term on November 2020. But then CALD chairperson Bi Khim Hsiao was appointed Taiwan envoy to the United States. As such, she needed to step down no later than end of June 2020, prior to her departure to assume her post in the US.

At the online CALD Executive Committee meeting, Senator Pangilinan congratulated outgoing CALD chair Hsiao on her new designation as Taiwan envoy to the United States.


LP’s history in CALD

In the 27-year history of CALD, LP had served as CALD chair-party for two terms: 1997-1999 and 2005-2007. The recently assumed term of LP will end in 2022.

Former LP president and then Deputy Speaker Raul Daza of the 1st District of Northern Samar served as CALD chairperson 1997-1998. In 1999, he was succeeded by former Batanes Rep. Florencio “Butch” Abad, who was formerly CALD secretary general during Daza’s incumbency.

Former LP President and then Philippine Senate President Franklin Drilon assumed CALD chairmanship 2005-2007.

LP officials who served as CALD secretaries general include former Philippine President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III (1999), who was then Tarlac province’s 2nd District Representative, and former Bukidnon Rep. Neric Acosta, who served the longest as CALD’s secretary general from 2005 to 2014.

Since its founding in 1946, LP has championed freedom, justice, and the dignity and rights of the individual. At great cost to its stalwarts and members, it stood among the few voices of dissent during the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship.

CALD believes that with LP’s chairmanship, they can further promote and practice the liberal and democratic values they hold dear.