The 55th APLFD Conference

Under the them of “Strengthen Co-operation for Asia Pacific Prosperity”, the 55th Conference of the Asian Pacific League for Freedom and Democracy (APLFD) was held at the Pavilion Hotel in Manila, the Philippines on October 23 to 26, 2009. It was the sixth time that the APLFD held its annual Conference in Manila since the League’s founding in 1954, and was the first time for the League Conference in the 21st century.

The 55th APLFD Conference was participated by 82 delegates from 18 countries and territories. The delegates were representing: Australia, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Palau, Singapore, ROC (Taiwan), Thailand, USA, Vietnam and Guam.

The Opening of the 55th APLFD Conference was held on October 23 morning, jointly with the 2009 Conference of the World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD), which met on October 22 and 23 in Manila at the Pavilion Hotel.

The APLFD held its joint Council/Executive Committee Meeting on October 24 morning, during which General Guillermo Pecache of the Philippines was elected as the Council Chairman, and the Chairman of the 55th Conference. At the meeting, Mr. Simon Hu, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Membership, reported the application for a full membership from the WLFD Malaysia Chapter headed by Mr. Datuk Hasan Malek, a Member of Parliament of Malaysia. The Meeting resolved to accept Malaysia as its new Member.

On the discussion of the site of the 56th APLFD Conference in 2010. Mr. Park, Chang-Dal, President of the Korea Chapter, offer the Korean invitation, which was accepted. Details of the organization of the next conference will be studied by the Secretariat and the Host Chapter.

Following the Joint Council / Executive Committee Meeting, the First Plenary was held. General Federico Ruiz, vice president of the Host Chapter reported that congratulatory messages were received from :

---President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines,

---President Ma, Ying-jeou of the ROC (Taiwan),

---Vice President Noli De Castro of the Philippines,

---Mr. Juan Ponce Enrile, President of the Senate of the Philippines,

---Mr. Prospero Nograles, Speaker of the House of the Philippines,

---Mr. Tseng, Yung-chuan, Vice President of Legislature, ROC (Taiwan)

---Mr. Gilberto Teodoro Jr., Secretary of Defense, the Philippines

At the First Plenary Meeting, Mr. Eduardo Ermita, Executive Secretary of the Office of the President of the Philippines, was the key-note speaker. On behalf of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines, Mr. Ermita welcomed all the delegates from afar. He noted that such gathering is meaningful for the promotion of understanding among countries in this region.

Mr. Yao Eng-chi, President of the World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD), was the guest speaker, who praised the well organization work of the APLFD Conference. And before the first plenary meeting was closed, Mr. Park, Chang-Dal, President of the Korea Chapter made a brief remark to welcome all the APLFD members to attend the next annual conference in Seoul.

In the afternoon of October 24, a symposium was organized to exchange views on the regional affairs. There were two panels. Panel One was related with the Philippines and the Asia Pacific. The Panel was chaired by Mr. Carlos L. Austin, president of the National Defense College of the Philippines. At the panel, Professor Rodrigo Ong gave a picture of the Chinese community in the Philippines since World War II, while Professor Florian Alburo, a well-known scholar in Manila, presented his view points on the financial crisis

Panel Two was on the regional developments. The panel was chaired by Dr. Galileo Kintana, chairman of the Business, Industry & Retired Cavaliers Inc. in Manila . Mr, Simon Hu of Singapore gave a presentation on the 2009 APEC Meeting and Singapore, while Professor Renato de Castro talked on the China-US relations and its impact to this region.

At the dinner of October 24, Mr. Antonio C. Santos, Under Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines, was the dinner speaker.

On October 25 morning, the Second Plenary Meeting was held on. At the meeting, General Federico Ruiz, vice president of the Philippines Chapter, expressed his chapter’s appreciation for the US$1,000 donation from the APLFD Secretariat for Manila victims suffered under the damages caused by Typhoon Ketsena (Ondoy) in late September.

Following General Ruiz’s report on the relief work for Typhoon Ketsena’s damages, Mr. Liou, Jieh-jow, the APLFD Secretary General, made a personal contribution of New Taiwan Dollar Twenty Thousand (NT$20,000; equivalent to some US$600). The donation was received by General Ruiz. Then, the Laos delegation, led by Mr. Somlith from Paris, also donated US$500 and Thai Dollar Twenty Thousand (Baht 20,000, equivalent to some US$600) for the Manila typhoon victims. The donation was received by General Pecache.

Chapter reports were made during the second plenary meeting, followed by the discussion and adoption of the Conference Communique at the Third Plenary Meeting.

Mr. Hemendra Nagin, Chairman of the Communqiue Committee, presented the draft of the Communique. Then, the text of the Communique were read, discussed, and approved paragraph by paragraph. Due to warm and long discussion among the members, the meeting was extended for another one and half hour.

With adjustment and agreement, the Communique was adopted with views points, among many others, as follows:

---The 55th APLFD Conference calls for Fiji to return to Parliamentary democracy as soon as possible.

---The Conference calls upon all parties in Myanmar to ensure that democracy and freedom will be established and maintained in the coming 2010 election of Myanmar.

---The Conference concerns the active potential disputes over borders and EEZ in South East Asia and Western Pacific; and urges that such disputes be settled by non-violent means.

---The Conference supports the ASEAN Regional Forum on multilateral approach in the South China Sea issues over the Parracel and Spratlys Islands.

---The Conference urges North Korea to cooperate with its neighbours towards the goal of peace and nuclear free.

---The Conference notes that the 2009 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meeting is to be held in Singapore. The APLFD hopes that the APEC 2009 will address issues such as multilateral trading system and the global financial crisis.

As the Conference Communique was adopted, Mr. Nagin thanked all the delegates and his committee members for their advise, efforts and participation to complete the drawing of the Communqiue.

Besides Mr. Nagin of Fiji, other members of the Communique Committee included : General Federico Ruiz of the Philippines, Mr. Rama Swarup of India, Mr. Takeshi Furuta of Japan, Mr. Stewart Rundle of New Zealand and Mr. Tze-tung Liu of the ROC (Taiwan).

With the conclusion of the Third Plenary Meeting, the Closing session of the 55th APLFD Conference was held at 12:45 p.m..Ms. Sy-Alvarado, Congresswoman of the Philippines was the guest speaker. And in his

concluding remarks, General Pecache, the Conference Chairman, expressed his thanks to all the guest speakers and delegates for making the Manila Conference a very successful one.

The farewell dinner was held at the Coral Ballroom of the Pavilion Hotel. Mr. Ernesto Carolina, Under Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines, was the dinner speaker.