Presidents and administrations come and go, but political parties remain – Manila Bulletin


Jose de Venecia Jr.
Former Speaker of the House

As part of our continued efforts to promote dialogue, understanding and cooperation within Asia and within the international community, we at the International Conference of Asian Political Parties will be organizing special conferences this year highlighting the crucial role of political parties. policies in nation building and in contributing to peace. and prosperity in our region and in the world.

The first will focus on “Asia’s Political Development through Political Parties” to be held in Seoul at the end of September, co-hosted by South Korea’s ruling People’s Power Party, led by current President Yoon. Seok-youl, and by the Democratic Party, the party of former President Moon Jae-in.

Another will be on “Security and Cooperation: Role of Political Parties” in Baku, Azerbaijan, at the end of November, which will be hosted by the ruling New Azerbaijan party, led by President Ilham Aliyev.

We will also hold our 11th General Assembly in Istanbul in early November, which will be hosted by the ruling Ak Parti and honored by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other senior Turkish party and government leaders, such as the Minister of Foreign Affairs Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu and Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.

We are privileged to serve as the Founding President and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties since we founded and launched it in Manila in September 2000.

From some 40 political parties that attended its inauguration in Manila some 22 years ago, our organization now represents some 350 ruling and opposition parties from 52 countries in Asia, including the major political parties in our country.

We have always advocated building strong political parties. In our column much earlier, we said the following:

“After decades as a politician and political party founder, we have spent the past 12 years observing how partisan politics works in our country.

We are saddened that our fragmented political system still hampers our collective ability to focus on national goals and pursue national goals.

We continue to be governed, not by principled parties, but by interested factions. Venality and parochialism still characterize our political culture. And every time a presidential term ends and a new one begins, we seem to start all over again.

We can’t keep playing this faction game over and over again. East Asia and the entire world around us is changing rapidly.

Indeed, unlike many countries in Asia and other regions like North America and Europe, we in the Philippines still have a lot of work to do to strengthen political parties in our country.
Our country’s weak party system has reduced political parties to mere vehicles for advancing its political ambitions. It has diminished the important role of political parties in national development and international relations.

Our weak party system has also turned our election campaign into a popularity contest, a contest of name recall, celebrity status and/or political pedigree, instead of a battle of policies and platforms.
The absence of a strong party system has also helped to perpetuate traditional electoral mechanisms, such as vote buying and selling, and political dynasties in our country.
To start the long-delayed and much-needed process of building a strong party system, perhaps the next Congress will pass a bill providing public funding for political parties that demonstrate broad national support, in order to reduce their unhealthy reliance on interest groups for campaign contributions.

It is also a means of leveling the political playing field and considerably reducing political corruption. Far more hostile is the intrusion into the political system of criminal syndicates that sell illegal drugs, gambling or contraband and allegedly fund candidates for key national and local positions.
Other proposed reforms such as the return to the two-party system are worthy of interest but would certainly be a long, even acrimonious exercise, because it would involve modifying the 1987 Constitution, which enshrines the multi-party system.

Political parties are important instruments for carrying out the socio-economic and political agenda of our nation, promoting the aspirations and participation of the people, building political consensus and even presenting alternative solutions to the problems and challenges facing our country. confronted.

Thus, as part of any deep political reform, we need to build strong political parties in order to institutionalize and stabilize political decision-making. After all, presidents and administrations come and go, but political parties remain.

Political parties can and should also complement the efforts of governments and parliaments to advance common causes that beset the global community, such as the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, the fight against climate change and the degradation of the environment, the fight against poverty and disease, the reduction of geopolitical tensions and conflicts, among others. ”



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