The Politics of Nation Building

A Roundtable Discussion with General Jose Almonte

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and the Center for Reform and Development (CRD) held a roundtable discussion last Wednesday, March 25 at the Writers Bar at Raffles Makati.


Entitled “The Politics of Nation Building,” the roundtable discussion used the premise of the book “Endless Journey” (memoirs of General Jose Almonte, the National Security Advisor of then President Fidel V. Ramos, as told to Ms. Marites Dañguilan Vitug, Editor-at-Large at Rappler) as a jumping-off point to provide a venue wherein experienced discussants provided their insightful perspectives about the politics of nation building.

Opening the roundtable discussion was General Almonte, who underscored the 4 necessary conditions to ensure the Philippines’ safety and to help the country rise above any kind of challenge. He said: “First, we have to come to terms with ourselves, build the infrastructure of nationhood, and articulate our identity and goals according to the core values our heroes died for…Second, no matter what it takes, we must end our internal wars: insurgency and separatism…Third, we need to complete all the land and non-land reforms…Fourth, the most important reform is in the contentious area of politics. How do we transfer the power of the few over the state to the people?”

This was followed by a brief background about “Endless Journey” from Ms. Vitug and some inputs from the discussants about the politics of nation building, within the outlook of their respective sectors. Mr. Calixto Chikiamco of the Foundation for Economic Freedom spoke about the Philippine economy in general; Col. Restituto Padilla of the Armed Forces of the Philippines gave his views based on his experience with the military; Ms. Amina Rasul-Bernardo of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy offered her insights within the context of peace and conflict, particularly in Mindanao; Cong. Mel Sarmiento of the 1st District of Western Samar gave his observations as a member of Congress and as a former local chief executive; Ms. Evelyn Toledo-Dumdum of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity provided an analysis from the perspective of the justice sector; and Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico of the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry imparted his opinions within the framework of the business sector.

Since General Almonte has committed most of his life for reform and betterment of the Philippine state and nation, he highlighted that it is now time to pass the baton. Closing the roundtable discussion was Mr. Benedikt Seemann, Country Representative of KAS Manila. Mr. Seemann concluded by emphasizing that, “One man like General Almonte can be successful in advocating change. But dozens or even thousands can make change happen. So, let’s duplicate the baton first and pass on as many as we can.”

Prominent figures from the academe, the international community, and the public and business sectors attended the roundtable discussion. The roundtable discussion was moderated by Ms. Vitug.

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Writers Bar, Raffles Makati


Tonette de Jesus

Tonette  de Jesus bild

Senior Program Manager

tonette.dejesus@kas.de +63 2 8539 3845
The Politics of Nation Building - General Jose Almonte KAS Manila
The Politics of Nation Building - Roundtable Discussion KAS Manila
The Politics of Nation Building - Benedikt Seemann KAS Manila
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