There are two good fora this week and next week here in Manila, sponsored by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty, FNF Manila Office and Liberal International.
Now, if I will be asked to answer this question, "Did the Philippines Sacrifice Human Rights in the Altar of Free Trade?", my quick answer would be NO. We are not a free trade country. The notoriety and corruption of the Bureau of Customs is one quick proof to that. Another would be the high difference between Philippine prices and foreign prices of certain products and services (computers, iPad, certain brands of cellphones, tv, rice, etc.). For me, the Philippines sacrifice human rights in the altar of bureaucracy and BIG government. It has nothing to do with free trade and free market.
On the June 1 forum, I like it because of the speakers, especially Rainer Adam. Rainer is the head of FNF South East Asia, and FNF is active in the human rights campaign in the region. Talk about human rights in front of the Myanmar and Laos generals, for instance, and one will see the difficulty of pushing the subject. Another good speaker there is Neric Acosta, former Congressman and incoming DENR Secretary.
These two events are free, no need to pre-register. Just show up at the venue and register right there.