President Widodo re-elected in world’s third largest democracy; active peace organizations in Asia

WE congratulate Indonesian President Joko Widodo for his reelection as President of the world’s third largest democracy and hope he would reach out to his defeated rival Probowo Subianto, a retired general who has ran a second-time against him.

Observers note a record 245,000 candidates ran for public office, from the presidency and parliamentary seats to local positions, all undertaken in one day. The Indonesian polls perhaps represent the largest democratic electoral contest in Southeast Asia.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo | photo

There will be accusations from the losers of largescale cheating but our friends in the diplomatic community in Jakarta indicate the polls were largely clean.

The modest soft-spoken Widodo, who has launched a largescale infrastructure program, visited Manila in April 2017, ahead of the ASEAN Summit then, on invitation of President Rodrigo Duterte and they discussed security of sea lanes, cross-border traffic and patrol, and economic cooperation.

We hope in President Widodo’s second term there would be more meaningful and concrete economic exchange between Indonesia and the Philippines and with the ASEAN partners.

It is also the hope of Indonesia’s friends in ASEAN that perhaps after a decent interval, efforts will be undertaken to reach out to the defeated rivals. It would be an excellent idea if Subianto, who also lost a presidential battle with Widodo in 2014, would perhaps be invited to serve as Indonesian Ambassador to Washington D.C. or to the European Union, and which could eventually lead to the beginnings of a much-desired government of national unity in Indonesia.

This columnist, who serves as President of Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI), and of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) and other Asian senior officials of our organization had the privilege of conferring with President Widodo in Jakarta in February 2015, where we exchanged views on possible ways of cooperation in the common battles against poverty, terrorism and extremism, climate change and environmental degradation.

With us in the meeting then with President Widodo were our very own Former President Fidel V. Ramos, Chairman Emeritus of Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI); then Vice President Jusuf Kalla of Indonesia, CAPDI Chairman; Deputy Prime Minister Sok An of Cambodia, CADPI Vice Chairman,now deceased; Sen. Mushahid Hussain Sayed of Pakistan, CAPDI Secretary General, who is considered a credible aspirant for national leadership in Pakistan; and CAPDI officials and business leader Tan Sri Datuk Chen Lipkeong of Malaysia and Cambodia, Erwin Aksa of Indonesia, and Asian and Filipino business and civic leaders Alex Fu, Michael Chen, Fernando Pena, Lito Jimenez, my son Joey de Venecia III, and Francis Manglapus.

CAPDI is an organization in the Asia Pacific bringing together political parties and key institutions of civil society, think tanks, business leaders, media, women and youth groups. It has offices in Manila and Jakarta. CAPDI works closely with other active organizations, the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) and the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP).


We met last Thursday in Manila with Dr. Chung Sik Yong, Chairman for Asia of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF); Dr. Robert Kittel, Director for Peace Education of UPF Asia; and Dr. Julius Malicdem, UPF Philippines President, to discuss a forthcoming UPF World Summit in Phnom Penh, and a larger event in Manila at the turn of the year, 2020.

The New York- and Seoul-based Universal Peace Federation (UPF), of which we are Chairman Emeritus, is a global network of individuals and organizations dedicated to advancing the cause of peace through cooperation and dialogue among countries and peoples, pioneered by its late Founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his active widow Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, and currently under the active leadership of “Mother” Moon and New Yorker Thomas Walsh, with members in 180 countries.

UPF, which has a general consultative status with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), carries out humanitarian programs, service-learning projects, character education, and sports programs. Lately, it has launched some peacemaking initiatives.

We have alerted them to the possibility of joining a journey to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to contribute with other Asian political leaders hopefully to peace-making efforts in the North Korean peninsula where we made an unforgettable journey to Pyongyang in April, 1990. Among those in our team were the late Congressman Miguel Romero, former Philippine Education Undersecretary Nestor Kalaw, and Japanese Journalist Kiyoshi Wakamiya.

We conferred with then North Korea Founder Kim Il Sung, which immediately led to the establishment of Philippine-North Korean diplomatic relations. 

Hon. Former Speaker of the House Jose de Venecia Jr.

Hon. Jose de Venecia, Jr. served as Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2008, and is Founding Chairman, International Conference of Asian Political Parties. During his distinguished career, Hon. De Venecia was instrumental in successfully securing a peace agreement with the secessionist Moro National Liberation Front in southern Philippines and in forging a ceasefire and a peace pact with the rebellious Armed Forces group, RAM-YOU. He also revived the imperiled and long-stalled peace process with the communist National Democratic Front-New People’s Army, and progressed peace talks with the residual fundamentalist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mindanao. Hon. DeVenecia is a member of GPF’s Global Leadership Council.

1 Comment
  1. Dear Venecia,

    Greetings and good day to you !

    It was a pleasure reading your article and I see that you are still actively engaged with the world.

    If you take your memory back to the time between 1982 to 1985 you will recall Al Bahrain Arab African Bank (ALBAAB) and my colleagues Baji Palkhiwala and Ismail Mazloum. I had visited you and your colleagues several times in the Philippines in my capacity as ALBAAB’s General Counsel in connection with the Bank’s business. It’s been more than three decades since then !!!!!

    I recently met Mr. Alex Bangcola (Chairman of Al Amanah Bank of the Philippines) in Dubai. During my interaction with him he mentioned that healthcare was one of priority areas for the Philippines and particularly so for the Bangsamoro region. Mr. Bangcola and I are in regular correspondence since March this year on a couple of topics including healthcare.

    In connection with healthcare I contacted my friend, the CEO of an Indian healthcare Group, which operates 14 hospitals including (super speciality hospitals) and manages several more and they are interested in establishing healthcare facilities in the Philippines. I mentioned the Bangsamoro region and they are prepared to submit a proposal for that region (at Mr. Bangcola’s request) which Mr. Bangcola said he would take to the National Health Ministry.

    I have requested Mr. Bangcola for some information so that a focussed and tailor-made proposal can be tabled and I await his response.

    I have read that you were instrumental in addressing the vexed issues of the Mindanao region and used your considerable skills in solving the problem through a negotiated settlement. Your experience and expertise and guidance will be invaluable in bringing the healthcare project to fruition. My CEO friend wants me involved in the project and I have agreed. It will be an absolute honor and pleasure if you could somehow spare time from your busy schedule to join in, offer us your insights and guidance to get this healthcare project off the ground.

    I don’t know how to get in touch with your and I am using this forum to reach out. If you get this message would you kindly request one of your staff members to contact me at: [email protected] I will be delighted to re-establish contact with you and also send you the Group’s profile.

    KInd regards,
    Amar (Saksy) Saksena

The Filipino-American Community Newspaper. Your News. Your Community. Your Journal. Since 1991.

Copyright © 1991-2024 Asian Journal Media Group.
All Rights Reserved.