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President Benigno Aquino 3rd as he was sworn in as the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines at historic Quirino Grandstand in Manila’s Rizal Park

The Liberal Party of Sri Lanka was delighted by the victory of Benigno Simeon Aquino III in the Philippine Presidential election. The Liberal Party of the Philippines has always been in the forefront of the struggle for freedom and social justice, and this enormous vote of confidence makes clear the appreciation of the Philippine people for its consistent stand.

As Chairman of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats, I was also particularly pleased by the victory of our Philippine colleagues, at a time when some political commentators ignore the commitment of Liberals to equity. The Asian understanding of Liberalism is I believe closer than what sometimes passes for Liberalism now to Liberal roots, as enunciated for instance by John Stuart Mill at a time when explicitly liberal politics came to the forefront in the United Kingdom. We can recognize however that Liberalism must always be what might be termed a moving feast, since in following what in Asian terms is termed the Middle Path, it has to respond to changing circumstances. Thus, as we saw so obviously in the 19th century, at one stage liberals increased the involvement of government in the provision of services when these were in short supply, later they realized the need to limit such involvement when it became excessive and took away from individual responsibility.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

July 2010
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