August 8, 2022

PEACE-MAKER

Jose de Venecia Jr.
Former Speaker of the House

We were at the Manila Polo Club with our son Joey, brother Roberto, and our old family friend Seiichi Wada, a successful Japanese business leader, when we were told about the shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Seiichi Wada, like former Premier Abe, is a friend of the Philippines, having contributed to enhancing economic relations between our two countries and continues to do so until now.

Wada serves as adviser to the Philippines-Russia Business Council, whose chairman is our youngest brother, Roberto. He is also a good friend and business associate of our late brother Oscar, who served as honorary consul general of Ukraine in the Philippines.

Wada is a member of the governing council of CAPDI, the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International, an Asia Pacific-wide organization which brings together political parties and civil society organizations under one roof in a common political house.

Going back to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, we join the Japanese people and the leaders around the world in mourning his passing.

He served as his country’s prime minister for nine years, from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020, the longest-serving in Japan’s history. He was also the youngest to be elected Japanese premier in 2006.

As then Speaker of the House of Representatives, we had the privilege of conferring with Prime Minister Abe on further deepening Philippines-Japan bilateral relations as well as cooperation on challenges facing the Asian region and the international community during our meetings in Tokyo and on his official visit to the Philippines in December, 2006.

Much earlier, we also met his late father, Japan’s influential politician and post-war Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe, who became our friend.

Shinzo Abe’s maternal grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, also served as prime minister of Japan from 1957 to 1960.

Shinzo Abe also served as president of the Liberal Democratic Party, which is a member of our International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), a Philippine-led initiative founded and launched in Manila in September, 2000 and which now represents some 350 ruling and opposition parties from 52 Asian countries.

The House of Representatives, under our leadership, conferred the Congressional Medal of Achievement on then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for enriching relations between the Philippines and Japan.

We are pleased to note that when we were Speaker of the House, we initiated and instituted the Congressional Medal of Achievement in November 2002 to “honor political, economic and cultural leaders who have distinguished themselves through their life-work and vision.”

Among the recipients of the Congressional Medal of Achievement are Presidents Nelson Mandela of South Africa, George W. Bush of the U.S., Hu Jintao of China, Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam of India; Prime Ministers Jose Maria Aznar of Spain, Wilfred Martens of Belgium, Kjell Magne Bondevik of Norway; and Senate President Pier Ferdinando Casini of Italy.

*****

Let us not negate the other threats of nature that have been besetting our country and the world for many years now and for which we have been warned about.

One of which is environmental degradation which, sadly, most of us have been taking for granted, if not completely ignore. Environmental experts have repeatedly warned that this clear and present danger will explode in the nearest future.

This global threat is becoming more and more serious that the World Economic Forum in January 2020 launched a program to “grow, restore, and conserve one trillion trees around the world and in a bid to restore biodiversity and help fight climate change.”

At the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November 2021, 110 world leaders pledged to end and reverse deforestation by 2030.

The countries which signed the agreement reportedly cover some 85 percent of the world’s forests.
The US, UK, Germany, Norway, Netherlands, and several other donor-countries committed US$12 billion of public funds and US$7.2 billion of private funds to protect and restore forests throughout the world.
We had been advocating a “Trillion Trees Program” in the Philippines and in the international community since our earlier years as Speaker of the House, as founding chairman of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), as well as in the various international organizations which we are privileged to serve.

We believe reforestation and tree farming, on the scale and intensity the planet needs, can and must become a significant jobs-creating economic stimulus for developing countries, if not all countries, that the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the regional banks, parliaments, political parties, and civil society should champion.

Massive tree planting can become a virtuous, indeed a forever, cycle of planting, cultivating, harvesting, processing timber and replanting that can generate tens of millions of jobs worldwide for poor young men and young women in the emerging countries, apart from addressing food shortage and expanding upland agriculture, and especially, contributing in a most significant way in the battle against climate change and environmental degradation.

We proposed much earlier that these programs can be organized through what we may call “Billions of Trees Foundations” managed by civil-society groupings, and strongly supported by governments, parliaments, and the political parties, or perhaps, even better, undertaken by governments themselves, and actively supported even managed by the private sector.

PEACE-MAKER

Jose de Venecia Jr.
Former Speaker of the House

We were at the Manila Polo Club with our son Joey, brother Roberto, and our old family friend Seiichi Wada, a successful Japanese business leader, when we were told about the shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Seiichi Wada, like former Premier Abe, is a friend of the Philippines, having contributed to enhancing economic relations between our two countries and continues to do so until now.

Wada serves as adviser to the Philippines-Russia Business Council, whose chairman is our youngest brother, Roberto. He is also a good friend and business associate of our late brother Oscar, who served as honorary consul general of Ukraine in the Philippines.

Wada is a member of the governing council of CAPDI, the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International, an Asia Pacific-wide organization which brings together political parties and civil society organizations under one roof in a common political house.

Going back to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, we join the Japanese people and the leaders around the world in mourning his passing.

He served as his country’s prime minister for nine years, from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020, the longest-serving in Japan’s history. He was also the youngest to be elected Japanese premier in 2006.

As then Speaker of the House of Representatives, we had the privilege of conferring with Prime Minister Abe on further deepening Philippines-Japan bilateral relations as well as cooperation on challenges facing the Asian region and the international community during our meetings in Tokyo and on his official visit to the Philippines in December, 2006.

Much earlier, we also met his late father, Japan’s influential politician and post-war Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe, who became our friend.

Shinzo Abe’s maternal grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, also served as prime minister of Japan from 1957 to 1960.

Shinzo Abe also served as president of the Liberal Democratic Party, which is a member of our International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), a Philippine-led initiative founded and launched in Manila in September, 2000 and which now represents some 350 ruling and opposition parties from 52 Asian countries.

The House of Representatives, under our leadership, conferred the Congressional Medal of Achievement on then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for enriching relations between the Philippines and Japan.

We are pleased to note that when we were Speaker of the House, we initiated and instituted the Congressional Medal of Achievement in November 2002 to “honor political, economic and cultural leaders who have distinguished themselves through their life-work and vision.”

Among the recipients of the Congressional Medal of Achievement are Presidents Nelson Mandela of South Africa, George W. Bush of the U.S., Hu Jintao of China, Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam of India; Prime Ministers Jose Maria Aznar of Spain, Wilfred Martens of Belgium, Kjell Magne Bondevik of Norway; and Senate President Pier Ferdinando Casini of Italy.

*****

Let us not negate the other threats of nature that have been besetting our country and the world for many years now and for which we have been warned about.

One of which is environmental degradation which, sadly, most of us have been taking for granted, if not completely ignore. Environmental experts have repeatedly warned that this clear and present danger will explode in the nearest future.

This global threat is becoming more and more serious that the World Economic Forum in January 2020 launched a program to “grow, restore, and conserve one trillion trees around the world and in a bid to restore biodiversity and help fight climate change.”

At the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November 2021, 110 world leaders pledged to end and reverse deforestation by 2030.

The countries which signed the agreement reportedly cover some 85 percent of the world’s forests.
The US, UK, Germany, Norway, Netherlands, and several other donor-countries committed US$12 billion of public funds and US$7.2 billion of private funds to protect and restore forests throughout the world.
We had been advocating a “Trillion Trees Program” in the Philippines and in the international community since our earlier years as Speaker of the House, as founding chairman of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), as well as in the various international organizations which we are privileged to serve.

We believe reforestation and tree farming, on the scale and intensity the planet needs, can and must become a significant jobs-creating economic stimulus for developing countries, if not all countries, that the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the regional banks, parliaments, political parties, and civil society should champion.

Massive tree planting can become a virtuous, indeed a forever, cycle of planting, cultivating, harvesting, processing timber and replanting that can generate tens of millions of jobs worldwide for poor young men and young women in the emerging countries, apart from addressing food shortage and expanding upland agriculture, and especially, contributing in a most significant way in the battle against climate change and environmental degradation.

We proposed much earlier that these programs can be organized through what we may call “Billions of Trees Foundations” managed by civil-society groupings, and strongly supported by governments, parliaments, and the political parties, or perhaps, even better, undertaken by governments themselves, and actively supported even managed by the private sector.

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