Philippine Embassy - Tokyo, Japan > Former President and Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo speaks in Japan on Philippine Democracy and Shared Values in Asia

Former President and Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo speaks in Japan on Philippine Democracy and Shared Values in Asia

Former President and Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivers her keynote address at the International Symposium “Shared Values and Democracy in Asia” held in Tokyo, Japan on 05 July 2018.

Former President and Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivers her keynote address at the International Symposium “Shared Values and Democracy in Asia” held in Tokyo, Japan on 05 July 2018.

Former President and Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was the keynote speaker at the International Symposium entitled “Shared Values and Democracy in Asia” on 05 July 2018. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered the closing remarks, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the audience through a video message.

In her remarks, former President and Congresswoman Macapagal-Arroyo spoke of democratic aspirations and actions in post-colonial Philippines, arguing that while democracy may have come as a result of American presence in the country at the turn of the century, democratic aspirations were deeply felt in the Philippines even prior to the Philippine Revolution.

Former President and Congresswoman Macapagal-Arroyo said that the spirit of democracy was so compelling that Filipinos would die for it. This ideal was extolled by Filipinos early on. She quoted Apolinario Mabini’s eloquent words, where he said in his letter to Joseph Wheeler, one of the American generals in the Philippine-American war, “The popular desire of the people (is) to have a government that would assure to the Filipinos freedom of thought, conscience and association; immunity in their persons, homes and correspondence; popular representation in the drafting of laws and imposition of taxes; equality of participation in public offices and public benefits; respect of laws and property; and the progressive development of public welfare with the help of means offered by modern progress.”

She then posited that democracy is universal, but that it could take different aspects. It grows in Asia out of shared core values like desire for harmony, gradualism, self-restraint and mutual respect and it deepens with education; there are standards to determine real democracies. Democracy is a work in progress for each country, evolving as it does with the circumstances of a specific society.

The event was organized by Nikkei Inc and co-organized by The Japan Foundation, The Vivekananda International Foundation, the Nakamura Hajime Eastern Institute, and is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in association with the International Buddhist Confederation.

To read her speech, click here.

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