[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

Friendly Filipino Folk

A Heartening Response from the Philippines when NLD-LA delegation visited 
the friendly Filipino folk

An NLD delegation from the liberated area (NLD-LA) was invited by the 
Filipino friends of Burma from November 09 to 13, 1998. The delegation 
was composed of 
1. U Than Htut,              Secretary of the NLD (Liberated Area) 
2. U Myint Thein,           Member of the Central Committee of NLD-LA 
3. S' Aung Lwin             Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of
Sis. Mary Soledad Perpinan, RGS - Third World Movement Against the
of Women , kindly coordinated the visit of the NLD representatives. 

The lobby trip of the NLD-LA culminated with the visit to the residence of
Joseph Ejercito Estrada after meeting with the Senate President Marcelo
the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the House of Representatives 
Committee on Foreign Affairs and its Sub-committee on ASEAN and
Affairs, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Commission on

Human Rights. 

The NLD-LA called on President Estrada to go all out in support of their
head, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. "Please maximize
while in Kuala Lumpur to favour our urgent plea for assistance to end the
51 year civil 
war that has brought untold suffering to our Burmese people," the
delegation said.  
The Philippine Government under the leadership of President Estrada was
+ to recognize and support the Committee Representing People's Parliament
   formed by Aung San Suu Kyi and the Members of parliament that won the
May 1990 
+ to enter into flexible engagement in the ASEAN by facilitating,
organizing and mediating 
   a dialogue of reconciliation among representatives of the winning party
of Aung San 
   Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy and other democratic parties,
the ethnic 
   groups and the military junta, 
+ to implement the UN General Assembly's resolution on Burma.  

One of the highlights of the lobby trip was the passage of the House of
resolution No. 143, following a dialogue with the NLD-LA representatives,
Than Htut, 
Myint Thein and Aung Lwin. 
The Executive Session of the House of Representatives Sub-committee on
ASEAN and 
Asia-Pacific Affairs passed the following resolution authored by
Congressman Apolinario 
L. Lozada, Jr.: 
" That the House of Representatives express its grave concern over the
evolving events in 
Myanmar and urge the Executive Branch through the Department of Foreign
  (1) to convey to Aung San Suu Kyi the solidarity of the Filipino people
with her cause for 
        genuine democracy and freedom in Myanmar, and 
 (2) to call for the immediate suspension of Myanmar's membership in ASEAN
       Myanmar's leaders honor its commitments to the ASEAN and to the
world to restore 
       real freedom and democracy in that nation by honoring the results of
the May 1990 
      General Elections." 
The Department of Foreign Affairs was represented at the NLD-LA dialogue
and the 
Executive Session by Undersecretary Lauro L. Baja, Assistant Secretary
Juanito P. Jarasa, 
Office of Asia and Pacific Affairs and Director Millicent Cruz, Office of
ASEAN Affairs. 

At the meeting with the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, the NLD-LA
delegates were 
encouraged by the words of the Committee Chair, Senator Blas Ople, " I
assure you of the 
support of the Senate and I promise to take up the matter with President
Estrada and 
Foreign Affairs Secretary Domingo Siason. " 
This support was reiterated by the Senate President, Hon. Marcelo Fernan,
who graciously 
received the delegation and promised to do all he can in his personal
capacity as a 
member of LAWASIA. 
During the 10th. Congress, Senator Raul Roco introduced a resolution
expressing support 
for Aung San Suu Kyi in her fight for democracy in Myanmar (Burma). The
Senator invited 
the NLD-LA delegates to a breakfast meeting in his residence. 

One more government channel was expolred: the Commission on Human Rights. 
Commissioner Mercy Contreras expressed optimism in following up the lobby
trip through 
the regular contacts with the ASEAN of the Working Group for an ASEAN Human

Meetings with Church groups, non-governmental organisations and the media
were very 
fruitful, reported the NLD-LA representatives. The National Council of
Churches in the 
Philippines (NCCP) and the Ecumenical Bishops' Forum (EBF) in cooperation
with the 
Third World Movement Against the Exploitation of Women (TW-MAE-W) organised
a forum 
on " Burma and the Struggle of its People." 
The Free Burma Coalition brought the delegates to various offices and
organised a 
press conference. The offices visited were the Initiatives for
International Dialogue (IID), 
the Third World Studies Center at the University of the Philippines,
Amnesty International 
Philippines and the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines. 
The delegates also met the officers of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction
(PRRM), the NGO Lobby Group on the Asian Development Bank Projects and the 
International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IRRI). 

At the International Conference on Alternatives to Globalization held at
the Development 
Academy of the Philippines, Tagaytay City, they showed slides and won
solidarity for 
Burma from participants from 35 countries. This was sponsored by IBON
and BAYAN. 
The Board of AKBAYAN (Citizens' Action Party), which includes BISIG,
Institute for popular 
Democracy and other citizen groups, invited the NLD-LA delegates to a
luncheon meeting. 
On the following day, a Soiree on Burma took place , attended by people who
had been to 
Burma, the foreign media and internet journalists. 
A very stimulating session was held at the Ateneo de Manila university for
scholars from 
the House of Representatives pursuing a masteral degree in Public
The subject was on Military regimes and the Case of Burma. 
Meetings were also arranged with the Burmese who are in the philippines.

While the Philippine leadership in the ASEAN to facilitate the peace
process in Burma is 
being sought, more and more countries are taking a firm stand against the
military junta. 
Last October 1998 the European Union decided not to grant a visa, not even
a transit one, 
to all members of the military regime travelling to Europe. 
With the countdown to the 50th. Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights 
on 10th. December 1998, it is high time that the call for the release of
political prisoners 
and an end to repression of the democracy movement made by the UN High 
Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, be heard. 

It is heartening to note that the Filipino people - those in government,
civil society and 
the religious circle - have lent their ears and offered their commitment to
be peace 
advocates, the NLD-LA representatives of Aung San Suu Kyi said as they end
lobby trip to the Philipines. " We came for peace and the doors to peace
have been 
opened," declared Aung Lwin, head of the Burmese delegation from the
" Our mission to lobby the Philippine Government has been successful,"
Than Htut, Secretary of the NLD-LA and Member of the National Council of
the Union 
of Burma (NCUB). 

Recorded by Sis. Mary Soledad Perpinan 
Reproduced by    Nwe Aung 
                               Burma Bureau Germany 
with the permission of the NLD-LA delegation to the Philippines.