KASYP Virtual Discussion Series 2020 - Regional Programme Political Dialogue Asia
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The second session of the KASYP Virtual Discussion Series was successfully conducted on September 26, 2020 via Zoom video communication platform with the theme: A Conversation on Building Inclusive 'New' Normal in the Philippines and Indonesia.
The virtual discussion was spearheaded and co-managed by several alumni of the Konrad Adenauer School for Young Politicians (KASYP) from the Philippines and Indonesia namely Atty. Marie Gonzales-Molina (KASYP Batch 2), Dr. Arya Sandhiyudha (KASYP Batch 2), Prof. Rejene Tan Lakibul (KASYP Batch 4), Mr. Patrick Henry Asiñero (KASYP Batch 7), Atty. Hasminah Paudac (KASYP Batch 9), and Mr. Nasserudin Dunding (KASYP Batch 10).
The online activity was graced by Mr. Christian Echle, the Director of the Regional Programme Political Dialogue Asia of KAS-Singapore. He welcomed the participants with the note that despite the difficulties brought about by the new normal, online discussions on relevant issues can still be made possible. He highlighted that the KASYP program continues to help young politicians in Asia in honing their leadership skills in order to contribute to the development of the Asian region.
The first speaker was Mr. Rejene Tan Lakibul. He is a professor of the Department of Political Science, University of San Carlos, Philippines. He articulated that the call for inclusivity in all faces and facets of governance has been amplified now at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He emphasized that any efforts towards people-centered and data-driven governance for development must entail clear awareness of the goal, strong adherence to guiding principles and right to development, and conscious bridging of leadership amongst multi-stakeholders. He argued that while whole-of-government approach has gains, its impact can be further accentuated by complementing it with whole-of-society approach.
The next set of inputs was provided by Mr. Patrick Henry Asiñero. He is the Project Manager for the Local Government Integrity Circles Project of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung - Philippines. He discussed the democratic pillars and other state policies that necessitate the participation of civil society organizations in governance. He shared local experiences of co-creating multi-sectoral solutions in addressing the challenges brought about by the pandemic. He pointed out that there are context-responsive and “power of the people” good practices as well as platforms for public-private partnership and collaboration that can help better the community. He also emphasized the role of local integrity circles in ensuring that the governance of affairs in the community is driven by integrity, accountability, transparency, and responsiveness.
The third speaker was Dr. Arya Sandhiyudha. He is currently the Vice Chairman and Head of Cooperation and Partnership of Red Cross in Jakarta, Indonesia. He presented statistics and salient features of various policies, assistance programs, digital platforms, and large-scale social collaborations that aim to combat the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia. He articulated the call for unity among civil society organizations and other non-state actors in coming up with transparent and cautious solutions to ease up the burden of society during the unprecedented brunt of the pandemic. He also echoed the important adage that “no one is safe until everyone is.”
The succeeding insights were shared by Mr. Nasserudin Dunding. He is the Chief of Program and Operations for the Bangsamoro Youth Commission in the Philippines. He contextualized the experiences of Filipino youth and women in poverty-stricken, disaster-affected, violence-laden, and conflict-stricken areas in Mindanao. He described the challenges in the aspect of peace and security that are being faced by the said vulnerable groups. These challenges are even aggravated by the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also articulated that women and youth must play a meaningful role in shaping the agenda for any response to COVID-19 pandemic and for building lasting peace in the community. He asserted the need for dialogue in order to facilitate the creation of inclusive and gender-responsive solutions.
The final speaker was Atty. Hasminah Paudac. She is the Legal Advisor for Greenpeace Philippines. She discussed how the environment sector can be engaged in building a better normal. She shared the humble contributions of Greenpeace Philippines in pursuing clean air and other renewable energy sources. She also argued that COVID-19 is not just about a health crisis, but also a wake-up call for the government to legislate policies to de-carbonize the economy and to sustain efforts in “greening” programs to address climate change. She expressed that activism is essential for a better normal, that big polluters should be held accountable for their actions, and that coherent post-COVID recovery plans are needed to sustainably address the brunt of future pandemics. She also echoed the call for climate justice because “no one can silence the clamour for human rights, for people power, and for climate change.”
After the presentations from the resource speakers, online participants were given an opportunity to ask questions and this has enhanced the quality of the panel discussion. To formally close the online event, according to Mr. Rey Padit, the Programme Manager for Political Cooperation, which the KASYP programme is part of his portfolio, has excellently expressed that “there are no complex problems and effective solutions that we can find without starting a conversation. This is the objective of the KASYP virtual discussion series which is to jump-start the discussion about common problems and at the same time converse about solutions that might be working in different contexts. In this manner, we can learn from best practices and become effective leaders in our own communities”.
The virtual learning session was moderated by Atty. Marie Gonzales-Molina and was participated by KASYP alumni as well as more than a hundred youth representatives from the Philippines, Indonesia, and other parts of Asia.