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Why Speaker JDV pushed for Interfaith Dialogue


Former House Speaker Jose De Venecia Jr. (JDV) has been known for his political leadership. He was elected five times as Speaker of the House of Representatives, an unprecedented feat in postwar Philippine Congress.


JDV has also built a solid reputation as a leader in Asia. It is, thus, not surprising when he was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue and to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).


JDV is the Founding Chairman and currently Chairman of the Standing Committee of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), now composed of more than 350 ruling, opposition and independent political parties in 52 countries in Asia.


He is also credited for his various initiatives in Asia and the international community.


In line with his vision to create an Asian Parliament, he co-founded with Sen. Mushahid Hussain Sayed of Pakistan the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA), composed of more than 40 parliaments in Asia. To bring APA into an Asia-wide organization, instead of limited to East Asia, and to help bring Iran into the mainstream, JDV initiated the transfer of the APA headquarters from Manila to Tehran.


JDV also served as President of the Association of Asian Parliaments for Peace (AAPP), forerunner of APA, and twice President of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO).


Together with former Thai Deputy Prime Minister and former Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, JDV co-founded the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC). This is composed of former heads of governments, leaders of parliament, foreign ministers and policy-makers. APRC aims to assist governments and organizations in peace-building and conflict resolution in Asia and other areas.


Former House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., (2nd from right) was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte (center) as Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue and to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).


JDV also serves as Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations (PCFR); Co-Chairman of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP); and Chairman Emeritus of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), a global network of individuals and organizations dedicated to helping build a world of peace.

JDV is with former President Fidel V. Ramos (left) and former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (center).


JDV believes that Asia’s future depends on its economic and political integration. In line with this, he has proposed an ASIAN Parliament, which is an expansion of the proposed smaller ASEAN Parliament; an Asian Monetary Fund (initiated by the Japanese); an Asian Anti-Poverty Fund or Asian Micro-Finance Fund, or Global Anti-Poverty Fund; and other modalities of cooperation that he hopes will eventually contribute to an Asian Community.


JDV was elected five times as Speaker of the House of Representatives, an unprecedented feat in postwar Philippine Congress.


He was also the one who initiated the Debt-for-Equity Program that the Philippines has proposed to the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Paris Club, as well as the G-7 and G-20 nations. The proposal is still awaiting consideration, but it aims to empower the poorest and heavily indebted debtor-countries (102 countries) to divert a percentage of their debt-service payments into anti-poverty programs that offer the prospect of profit, and recently for anti-climate change projects.


Another JDV-initiated Philippine proposal is the Interfaith Dialogue that aims to help heal politico-religious and cultural schisms in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, principally those between Islam and the West, the Sunni-Shi’ite conflicts, among others, to prevent the dreaded “clash of civilizations” and “clash of religions.” This proposal has already been approved by the United Nations and has began to carry it out.


With his vast knowledge and experience here and abroad, JDV will continue to be a key figure not only in Philippine governance but also in the Asian community.

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