Ponente de EUDE

Honorable José de Venecia

Honorable José de Venecia

Honorable José de Venecia, who was elected five-times as Speaker of the House of Representatives (1992-1995, 1995-1998, 2001-2004, 2004-2007 and 2007-2008), which is unprecedented in postwar Philippine Congress, is Founding Chairman and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), now composed of more than 330 ruling, opposition and independent political parties in 52 countries in Asia.

 

He is also President of the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI), the first organization in the Asia Pacific, bringing together political parties and the key institutions of democratic civil society, people’s organizations, think tanks, academe, eminent persons, business leaders, media, women and youth groups.

 

 

INITIATIVES IN ASIA

 

  • Co-founded the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA), composed of more than 40 parliaments in Asia, with Sen. Mushahid Hussain Sayed of Pakistan, to create what he envisioned to be the beginnings of an Asian Parliament. He also transferred the APA headquarters from Manila to Tehran to bring APA into an Asia-wide organization, instead of limited to East Asia, and to help bring Iran into the mainstream. De Venecia also served as President of the Association of Asian Parliaments for Peace (AAPP), forerunner of APA, and twice President of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO).

 

  • Initiated and co-founded the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC), with former Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, composed of former presidents and prime ministers, leaders of parliaments, ministers, diplomats, policy-makers and prominent thinkers. APRC aims to assist governments and organizations in peace-building and conflict resolution in Asia and in various parts of the world.

 

  • In the belief that Asia’s future depends on its economic and political integration, JDV has proposed an ASIAN Parliament, (an expansion of the proposed smaller ASEAN Parliament), an Asian Monetary Fund (which he acknowledges was initiated by the Japanese), an Asian Anti-Poverty Fund or Asian Micro-Finance Fund, and other modalities of cooperation that he hopes will eventually lead to an Asian Community.

 

  • Another JDV international initiative is the Debt-for-Equity Program that the Philippines has proposed to the U.N., the IMF, and the Paris Club (which organizations de Venecia personally addressed) and the G-7 and G-20 nations. The formula empowers the poorest and heavily indebted debtor-countries (102 countries) to divert a percentage of their debt-service payments into anti-poverty programs that offer the prospect of profit, and recently for anti-climate change projects. This is awaiting their consideration.

 

  • JDV also initiated the Philippine proposal—which the United Nations has approved and began to carry out—Interfaith Dialogue to help heal politico-religious and cultural schisms in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, principally those between Islam and the West, to prevent the dreaded “clash of civilizations” and “clash of religions,” following his speeches at the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Security Council.

 

  • JDV serves as Co-Chairman of the International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization (IESCO), devoted to fighting climate change and environmental degradation, with offices in Beijing and New York and granted Special Consultative Status at the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

 

  • Just recently, JDV was appointed Co-Chairman of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) during its launching in Washington D.C., December 2016, with former U.S. Congressional leader Dan Burton, also as Co-Chairman.

 

 

POLITICAL LEADER

 

  • He was first elected congressman in 1969, at the age of 32, but after two years, Congress was abolished by President Marcos under Martial Law. Upon democracy’s return, he ran again in a new congressional seat in Pangasinan (4th District) in 1987 and subsequently became Acting Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee.

 

  • In the disastrous earthquake of 1990 which destroyed his hometown Dagupan City and parts of Baguio, La Union and Cabanatuan City, JDV authored with Rep. Rolando Andaya the P10-billion Earthquake Fund Law and went to various countries to seek official assistance and completely rebuilt Dagupan City in two years.

 

  • Elected five-times as Speaker of the House of Representatives (1992-1995, 1995-1998, 2001-2004, 2004-2007 and 2007-2008), which is unprecedented in postwar Philippine Congress.

 

  • Co-founded, with President Fidel Ramos and Foreign Secretary Raul Manglapus, the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), which became the ruling party for some 15 years. He was alternately its Secretary General, President, Chairman and Co-Chairman.

 

  • Architect of the “Rainbow Coalition” in the House of Representatives, which united the country during the turbulent post-Martial Law years, and which paved the way for the smooth passage of the economic, political and social reform legislation during the Ramos administration, helping create the modest Philippine economic miracle in the Ramos years.

 

  • Ran for president in the 1998 elections. He emerged second in the field of 10 candidates, with President Joseph Estrada as winner. When Estrada went to prison and later pardoned, De Venecia’s running mate, Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, succeeded to the presidency.

 

 

LAWMAKER

 

  • JDV, with Reps. Felicito Payumo and Victor Ortega, was the principal author of the landmark B-O-T (Build-Operate-Transfer) Law, which has become a model for other developing countries and the formula for “Private-Public Partnerships.” In the Philippines the law has made possible private investments and public-private partnerships in infrastructure projects in the 1990s valued in excess of $30 billion as early as the mid-1990’s.

 

  • He authored the Military Bases Conversion Law, which has turned the former American military bases on Luzon Island—the biggest of them being Clark Airfield and Subic Naval Base, including Baguio’s Camp John Hay and La Union’s Camp Wallace and Poro Point—into thriving export zones and free ports. The law which JDV authored included the conversion of Fort Bonifacio into the now successful satellite city and the Resorts World in the old Nichols Air Base.

 

  • He co-authored the law which created the Central Bank of the Philippines—a reform that has strengthened supervision of the country’s financial sector and opened banking to greater competition.

 

 

PEACEMAKER

 

  • In the early 1990s, Speaker de Venecia reached out to Muslim secessionists (MNLF) in Mindanao, southern Philippines, to mutinous rightist military officers (RAM-YOU) and to the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents.

 

  • He crossed the North African desert twice to meet Libyan Leader Muammar Qaddafi, then-patron of the largest rebel force in Mindanao and the MNLF leader Nur Misuari. The peace agreement with the MNLF was subsequently signed in 1996, following JDV’s offer of a Coalition Agreement with Nur Misuari, who became ARMM governor.

 

  • His talks with rightist military officers who launched eight coup attempts between 1987 and 1989 led to a ceasefire in December 1992, a peace agreement with the Government in 1995, and subsequently to an amnesty program initiated by President Fidel Ramos and JDV, approved by Congress for Rightist, Communist, and Muslim rebels.

 

  • On July 2016, JDV has met with Nepal’s new Maoist Premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, and three other former Nepalese Marxist Premiers who declared their unanimous support for a final peace settlement among the Philippine New People’s Army, Communist Party, and the Government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

 

 

GLOBAL BUSINESS LEADER

 

  • In the 1970s, as an international entrepreneur, he pioneered Filipino projects in the Middle East and North Africa, which led to the employment of millions of Filipinos worldwide.

 

  • His companies engaged in port operations in Saudi Arabia, agriculture in Africa, mass housing in Iraq and oil exploration in the United Arab Emirates.

 

  • With his brother Oscar de Venecia, JDV was one of the pioneers in the first historic commercial oil discoveries in the Palawan offshore. They were decorated by the Philippine government.

 

 

DIPLOMAT

 

  • In 1966, at the age of 29, he was appointed Minister and Economic and Press Counselor of the Philippine Embassy in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) Vietnam, during the Vietnam War.

 

  • In 1967, he conceived of and implemented the historic Dollar Remittance Program for the Philippine overseas workers, which now raises more than $20-billion a year, continuously saving the Philippine economy during recurrent crises, from the major 1970 devaluation through the dark years of Martial Law, through the Asian financial crisis, and the impeachment and coup attempts during the Estrada and Arroyo years, and which program has become a model for many Third world countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Turkey, etc., and for which he has received a number of decorations.

 

  • For his historic initiative, JDV was given the prestigious Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) award from Philippine Jaycees and Philippine Central Bank and other institutions. The BizNews Asia magazine conservatively estimates the program has raised more than US $250-billion since 1968.

 

  • From 1986-1987, he briefly served as Ambassador-at-Large under President Corazon Aquino’s administration and returned to Congress with new elections in the restored democracy.

 

 

JOURNALIST

 

  • After graduation, at the age of nineteen, he became Manila Bureau chief and Philippine correspondent for Pan-Asia Newspaper Alliance, one of Asia’s earliest wire agencies. He wrote a weekly column on Asian affairs that appeared in the pre-martial law Philippine Herald. His articles also appeared in a number of Asian newspapers.

 

  • Co-founded in the 1960s the Radio Philippines Network, now the RPN. Pioneered in radio broadcasting in the Northern Luzon capitals of Baguio, Laoag and Tuguegarao, which holdings he later sold.

 

 

DECORATIONS

 

  • Received from French President Jacques Chirac in Paris the French Legion of Honor, decoration from King Juan Carlos of Spain, the highest decorations from the Royal Government of Cambodia, and the Government of Equatorial Guinea in Africa, the Knights of Rizal, the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), and honorary doctorates from universities at home and abroad.

 

  • JDV has addressed the U.N. General Assembly, the U.N. Security Council, the Council of Europe, and spoke in meetings at the British Parliament, the French National Assembly, the Japanese Diet, the Chinese Great Hall of the People, Italian National Assembly, the Belgian Parliament, and the California and Guam Legislatures.

 

  • Today he is regularly invited to speaking engagements in Asia and various parts of the world.

 

 

EARLY LIFE

 

  • Born on December 26, 1936 in Barangay Pogo Grande, Dagupan City, in the northwestern province of Pangasinan on the main Philippine island of Luzon, to Judge Jose Ravago de Venecia and Casimira Villamil Claveria. His grandfather Guillermo de Venecia was Mayor of the then Municipality of Dagupan.

 

  • Youngest among seven siblings.

 

  • Finished High School at De La Salle College, Manila.

 

  • Studied Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila where he became Editor of The Guidon, the award-winning student newspaper, and Editor-in-Chief of The Aegis, the school annual. In his senior year, The Guidon received a rare honor of being rated one of the best college newspapers of the world by New York’s Columbia University.

 

 

FAMILY

 

  • JDV is married to Ma. Georgina Vera-Perez, who just ended her second term (2010-2013, 2013-2016) as Congresswoman of the 4th District of Pangasinan. Congresswoman Gina de Venecia was elected in January, 2011 President of the 65-strong Association of Women Legislators in the House of Representatives and was unanimously reelected last September 25, 2013. As President of the Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc. (CSFI), during the incumbency JDV as Speaker, she has led congressional spouses in building 17 women’s centers nationwide that have treated almost 20,000 raped and abused women, carried out a parallel program with regional branches for drug-dependent street children in Metro Manila and the provinces, and a senior citizens complex in Rizal Province, who have been abandoned by their families. Recently, Gina de Venecia established a center for mothers, Inang Naulila sa Anak (INA), who have lost their children, in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Her successful initiatives for women and children have earned admiration at home and abroad.

 

  • His children, Alexandra, finished with a Doctorate in Chemistry in Princeton University, after graduating from Wellesley, married to Mark Haner, also with a doctorate from Princeton. Alexandra is also a patent lawyer for international companies; Leslie, finished in Yale with Masters in Columbia University, is a weekly columnist of the Barrons, the prestigious economic magazine in the U.S. and professor at Columbia University; Vivian Garcia is a graduate with Masters in Social Work at Smith College, married to Dr. Dennis Garcia, who finished at Harvard; son Joey de Venecia III, who was a scholar and finished his MBA and was assistant professor at Fordham University and now Executive Vice President of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s PDP-Laban Party; and youngest son Christopher, who finished Political Science at the Ateneo de Manila University, a youth columnist of the Philippine Star and a director-producer of broadway plays staged in Manila, who also succeeded his mother as the incumbent Congressman of the 4th Congressional District of Pangasinan; and stepchildren Carissa C. Evangelista, former Trade and Industry Undersecretary and graduate of Boston University, married to business executive Juju Evangelista; and Felipe Cruz III, a graduate of the Ateneo and with a Masters, with honors, in Publishing at New York University.
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