October 2, 2007
Hon. Alberto G. Romulo
Department of Foreign Affairs
Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Dear Sec. Romulo,
We applaud you and other Foreign Ministers of the ASEAN member-countries for issuing a strong statement urging Myanmar leaders to exercise restraint and to release political prisoners like Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. We have also read and support your press release, “No let up on Philippine Advocacy on Myanmar Democracy”, dated September 27, 2007.
The Philippine government has hosted many ASEAN meetings in the past. For this year alone, our country hosted the ASEAN Summit in Cebu last January, the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Manila last July, and the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Makati last August.
As Filipino taxpayers that finance those expensive meetings, and as ordinary motorists that suffer heavy traffic whenever police escorts block our way to allow those officials of ASEAN and other participating governments have their way, we feel bad that part of our hard-earned money were spent on those Myanmar generals and bureaucrats whose definition of “public service” is to suppress their citizens’ economic and civil rights, then truncheon, imprison, or shoot them to death when they find courage to stand up to more than 4 decades of military dictatorship.
As taxpayers that finance the DFA budget, we urge you to take certain penalties on the Myanmar government should it continue its political and military repression of its citizens, in particular the continued detention of political dissenters like Ms. Suu Kyi. Please consider urging other ASEAN member-countries that they bar and exclude Myanmar’s leaders, even temporarily, from attending future ASEAN meetings. They have isolated themselves from their citizens, they have disregarded diplomatic requests from governments of other countries, let ASEAN isolate them, until at least they have followed your demands in the recent joint ASEAN statement issued last month. Please spare our tax money from pleasing those Myanmar leaders until they have learned to reform themselves and democratize their country.
Bienvenido Oplas, Jr.
President, Minimal Government, Philippines
On another note, our network of liberty-oriented think tanks, research institutes and other political organizations issued the following online campaign:
Solidarity with the People of Myanmar
2 October 2007
148th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi
We, who are united by common principles and values of individual liberty, declare our steadfast support for the freedom of expression and freedom of association of the people of Myanmar to exercise these rights peacefully. In particular, we declare our solidarity with the people of Myanmar in their present hour of crisis, the people who have bravely faced the brutal force unleashed by the military junta against its own people. By its action on peaceful protestors the military regime in Myanmar has not only underscored its own illegitimacy, but also exposed its own vulnerability.
We call on the military regime in Myanmar to respect the popular sentiment of the Burmese people against authoritarian rule. We also call on the military to release from detention all political prisoners, initiate an honest dialogue aimed at reconciliation, and respect the ideal of political pluralism.
We, also call on the international community to support the democratic aspirations of the people of Myanmar to exercise their sovereign right to live in peace, with freedom and dignity.
Signatories, Institute or organizational representatives, as of Oct. 3, 2007:
· Khalil Ahmad, Alternate Solutions Institute, Pakistan
· Ozlem Caglar-Yilmaz, Association for Liberal Thinking, Turkey
· Melinda de Jesus, Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility, Philippines
· Trupti Parekh, Ambrish Mehta, Anil Patel, Action Research in Community Health and Development (ARCH), India
· Barun Mitra, Liberty Institute, India
· Todd Myers, Asia Institute for Social, Philosophical, and Economic Research, USA
· Krishna Neupane, Limited Government, Nepal
· Nonoy Oplas, Minimal Government, Philippines
· Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, Point Pedro Institute of Development, Sri Lanka
ASEAN 1: Asian regional bureaucracies, November 08, 2006
ASEAN 2: Regional Meetings, Indonesia's Military Businessmen, September 13, 2007