"Globalization connects people to each other, but it also isolates us from one other. We have to look more closely at how we can make democracy a platform especially for those in the periphery to be heard," said Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, who is also the new president of the Liberal Party of the Philippines.
Pangilinan lamented the current political trend that has threatened liberal democracy. "What is happening should not be seen as a victory of hate and crass over love and decency. It may be more a rejection of the old, particularly of power structures that have ignored people on the fringes, those in the laylayan," Pangilinan explained. He then quoted the joint statement of US President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel where they stressed that "shared commitment to personal freedom and dignity, which only a vibrant democracy the rule of law can guarantee" are also the drivers of economic development.
Pangilinan was the keynote speaker at the Welcome Dinner for the delegates of the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia Conference in Makati City on 22 November 2016. 70 representatives from research institutes and policy think tanks from Southeast, East, and South Asia, and from Germany, USA, and Canada converged in Manila for the annual international event.
"Democracy is hard work, but it is our responsibility as agents of democracy to protect human dignity, especially of those who have been neglected and ignored," he concluded.
"Poverty is a central issue that needs to be addressed if citizens are to participate actively and fruitfully in society, but economic growth is not a goal in itself. A prosperous and just society guaranteeing individual freedom is," added FNF Philippines Country Director Wolfgang Heinze.