Manila/Vienna, 25 June 2004/P/RE/18754c-is
The President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, yesterday concluded a 12-day information visit to the Philippines. He met with politicians, intellectuals and NGO-representatives, and delivered a series of lectures on global affairs. The visit was arranged by the Foundation for Social Justice (Philippines) at the initiative of its Chairperson-President, Dr. Fatemah R. Balbin. Dr. Koechler was accompanied by a group of students from Austria, China and the United States.
The President of the I.P.O. met with the Vice-President of the Philippines, H.E. Teofisto Guingona, Jr., and with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Hon. Hilario G. Davide, Jr., who gave a dinner-reception at the Supreme Court in honour of his guest. He also met with the former Supreme Commander of United Nations Forces in East Timor, Major General Jaime de los Santos, who gave a briefing for Dr. Koechler's students on peace-keeping and nation-building in East Timor. He further met, among others, with the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of the Philippines, Dr. Purificacion C. Valera Quisumbing; the Mayor of the City of Marikina, Ms. Marides "MCF" Fernando; the Commandant of the Command and General Staff College of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Major General Neon D. Ebuen; the Acting President of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Dr. Samuel M. Salvador; the Chairperson-President of the Foundation for Social Justice and member of the National Amnesty Commission (Office of the President of the Philippines), Dr. Fatemah Remedios C. Balbin; the Vice-Chairperson of Bayan, Dr. Carol Araullo; the Chief of Staff of the Bayan Muna Parliamentary List, Ms. Lualhati S. Roque; and the Secretary-General of the International League for Peoples' Struggle (Philippines), Ms. Rita Baua.
In connection with an ongoing fact-finding project on the situation in Muslim Mindanao, the President of the I.P.O. held a meeting with the founder-leader of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and former Governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Mr. Nur Misuari, at the latter's place of detention at the headquarters of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force at Fort Santo Domingo, Santa Rosa. He also met, at the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, with Director Ramon El Martinez, Jr, member of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) and participant in the Coordination Committee on Cessation of Hostilities Meeting (CCCHM) between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). He further held consultations with the Chairman of the MNLF-ICC (Islamic Command Council), Hj. Matanog "Diego" M. Mapandi, and with the Director of the International Relations Department of the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City, Prof. Lomala Dimaro.
Dr. Koechler delivered a series of lectures at research and educational institutions and for public advocacy groups. On 18 June he spoke on "The U.S. Handover of Sovereignty to Iraq. Moral and Legal Questions" at a Public Forum organized by the People's Forum on Peace for Life, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, the Ecumenical Women's Forum, and Pilgrims for Peace. On the same day, he delivered the key speech on "June 30 Handover – Sovereign Iraq or U.S. Neocolony?" at a Public Forum on "The U.S. Handover in Iraq – Implications, Problems and Prospects" organized by Bayan, the Justice Not War Coalition, and the Contend-up citizens group at the University of the Philippines. On 17 June he gave a lecture on the Iraq crisis, the role of the United Nations and questions of international legitimacy at the College of Law of the University of the Philippines in Quezon City. On 22 June he was the Guest Speaker at the Convocation on "Quo Vadis, United Nations?" held by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) on the occasion of its Centenary and that University's College of Law 3rd Foundation Anniversary. On 23 June he delivered a special lecture on "The Changing Nature of International Relations and the Future of World Order" for the Armed Forces of the Philippines Command and General Staff College at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) appointed Dr. Koechler as Visiting Professorial Lecturer. The PUP further awarded him with a Plaque of Appreciation and honoured him with the PUP Medallion issued on the occasion of the University's Centenary celebration.
On 14 June a book launching of Dr. Koechler's "Global Justice or Global Revenge?" was organized by the University of the Philippines' (UP) Asian Center, the UP Institute of International Legal Studies, the UP Alumni Association, and the H. Koechler Political and Philosophical Society. The ceremony was attended, among others, by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Hon. Hilario G. Davide, Jr., the Chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy, the Hon. Justice Ameurfina M. Herrera, the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of the Philippines, Dr. Purificacion Quisumbing, and the Director of the Institute of International Legal Studies, former Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Merlin Magallona. On the occasion of the book launching, the H. Koechler Political and Philosophical Society released the first edition of the review volume on "Global Justice or Global Revenge?"
On 17 June the canvassing of the votes of the presidential elections by the joint congressional committee at the House of Representatives in Manila. He was accompanied by a group of students from the University of Innsbruck (Austria). His remarks on the electoral process were widely covered in the Philippine media. He was also interviewed by Waldy Carbonell for the latter's TV show on Channel 4 and was special guest at the morning talk show of ABS-CBN (ANC) on Iraq.
On 18 June the H. Koechler Philosophical and Political Society gave a dinner in honour of Dr. Koechler at the College of Business at the University of the Philippines.
The visit was organized as follow-up to Dr. Koechler's 2002 information and lecture visit to the Philippines. In his meetings and consultations Dr. Koechler agreed to expand the framework of cooperation between the International Progress Organization and interested institutions, including NGOs, in the Philippines, particularly as regards the ongoing peace process in Muslim Mindanao, issues of civilizational dialogue, and the international rule of law. In a statement issued upon the conclusion of his visit, he expressed his special thanks to the Chairperson and members of the Foundation for Social Justice and the H. Koechler Political and Philosophical Society for their untiring efforts in arranging the visit and for their idealistic commitment to promoting global dialogue.
concludes information visit to the Philippines/18754c-is