Statement of Dr. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Vice-President of the Philippines and Leader
Of the Philippine delegation for the Special
Session of the United Nations General
Assembly on the Implementation of the
World Summit on Social Development and
Further Initiatives, June 28, 2000,
Let me join the other speakers in expressing our confidence that with your leadership and given the goodwill and cooperation of all the delegates, our meeting will come to a fruitful conclusion. This follow-up summit should result in forward-looking initiatives that will bring the
Copenhagen process farther
The Copenhagen summit agreed that social development consists in poverty eradication, employment expansion, and social integration. The president of the Philippines, his excellency Joseph ejerctto estrada, has asked me to inform you in his behalf that these three strategies are stressed in our medium-term Philippine development plan for the period 1999-2004.
With regard to poverty reduction, we seek to tackle this by pursuing measures within the overall framework of human capital formation, improvement of basic social services, expansion of micro-credit, and strong participation of the poor. We have to strengthen our social safety nets to better respond to and protect the poor from the risks of globalization, trade liberalization and privatization. We support the need to integrate both social and economic concerns in the design of structural adjustment as well as reform programs.
We recognize the global target of reducing the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by one half by the year 2015. We shall make efforts to contribute to this by aiming for a reduction in our own incidence of poverty from 31.8 percent in 1997 to 25-28 percent in 2004.
With regard to full employment, the Philippine government's goals include the provision and expansion of remunerative employment with full respect for basic workers' rights, livelihood opportunities, and entrepreneurial activities which include the disadvantaged groups and individuals. The- twin effects of the Asian financial crisis and the El Nino weather phenomenon coupled with the emerging unbalanced impact of globalization have affected our labor productivity. We therefore have to adopt appropriate measures to improve productivity and conditions of work. We see the need for a multilateral initiative to understand better the social dimension of globalization; to promote gender equality and eliminate gender discrimination in the labor market; and to improve methods for collection and analysis of basic employment data and mechanisms to measure unremunerated work.
We support the move to protect the rights of the migrant workers. We encourage countries which have not yet done
so to ratify as soon as possible the UN. Convention on the rights of migrant workers their families.
With regard to promoting social integration, the Philippine, government pursues this for the poor, advantaged and vulnerable groups. Our interventions are guided by the following approaches: participation of local government units, N.G.O.'s, P.O.'s and beneficiaries themselves; focused targeting on depressed areas; integrated delivery of basic services; and emphasis on family as the center of social development. At the international level, effective collaboration is needed to address such social issues as drug trafficking, trafficking in women and children, terrorism, environmental degradation, HIV/AIDS, the proliferation of street children, the marginalization of persons with disabilities, and disease among internal refugees fleeing from armed conflict, among others. We particularly appeal for assistance for the immediate health needs of the civilians displaced by armed conflict.
The Philippines seeks to put in place an enabling environment for social development by the devolution of social services to local government units and by attempting to move towards greater partnership and regular dialogue between government and the people.
Devolution has encouraged a greater sense of responsibility among local government units. However, the lack of resources and expertise limits their potential. Hence, we see the need for the continuing conduct of capability building programs in the areas of planning, programming, resource mobilization, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of development projects.
At the international level, we support the need to refrain from any unilateral measures, particularly, the denial of basic social services, as a form of political pressure; and the need for improved measures to address the excessive volatility of short-term international capital flows. It is also essential to address the external debt problems of developing countries.
The share of social services in the Philippine budget has increased from 27 percent in 1995 to 34.1 percent for this year 2000, reflecting our aspiration to achieve our social development goals. At the international level, the donor community can assist developing countries by reversing the current decline in official development assistance or ODA.; By fulfilling the yet to be attained internationally agreed target of 0.7 percent of GNP of developed countries for overall ODA; By allocating 20 percent of its I.D. To basic social services; by providing more grant assistance rather than loans for social development programs and projects; and, in the case of loan availment, by giving more confessional financing for social development programs and projects.
The 21st century is the century of the new economy, characterized by rapid advances in information technology. Let us join hands in seeking ways to harness this new economy so as to make our world a happier and more comfortable home to live in for all people. By god's grace and with our collective desire, we can meet this challenge.