PHILIPPINE STATEMENT OF

H.E. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO


PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

58TH Session of the United Nations General Assembly

26 September 2003

New York

MR. PRESIDENT, ON BEHALF OF THE PHILIPPINE DELEGATION, I WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND WARMEST CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU AND THE MEMBERS OF THE BUREAU ON YOUR ELECTION TO THE LEADERSHIP OF THE FIFTY-EIGHTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS WERE A MOST DIFFICULT AND CHALLENGING PERIOD FOR THE UNITED NATIONS SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT 58 YEARS AGO. A COMMUNITY OF CYNICISM HAS FORMED ON THE ABILITY OF THE UNITED NATIONS TO RISE FROM THE MORASS OF DISUNITY AND DISRUPTIVE COMPETITION AMONG MAJOR POWERS TO FULFILL ITS CATALYTIC ROLE FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY, AND DEVELOPMENT.

BUT WHILE IT IS UNDENIABLE THAT THE UNITED NATIONS HAS STRUGGLED OVER THE LAST TWELVE MONTHS, ITS PREDICTED DECLINE IS GREATLY EXAGGERATED. ECONOMIC LINKAGES AMONG NATIONS HAVE WIDENED AND DEEPENED IN MANY SECTORS. THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF THE GLOBAL VILLAGE CONTINUES TO INFRINGE TRADITIONAL POLITICAL BOUNDARIES.

FOR INSTANCE, THE TENTACLES OF INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM ARE INSIDIOUSLY SPREAD ALL OVER.

CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS HAVE DISPLAYED THAT WITHOUT THE CENTRIPETAL PULL PROVIDED BY INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND PARTNERSHIP THROUGH THE UN, THE WORLD WOULD TEND TO DRIFT APART. THE RICH WOULD BECOME RICHER, THE POOR POORER. CONFLICT AND DISHARMONY WOULD ERUPT ALONG POLITICAL, ETHNIC AND EVEN RELIGIOUS FISSURES. WE FACE THE PARADOX OF A CONTRACTING WORLD THROUGH ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY THAT IS AT THE SAME TIME DRIFTING APART IN THE SEAMS OF INEQUALITY.

MR. PRESIDENT, THREE YEARS AGO 146 HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT, AND 189 MEMBER STATES IN TOTAL, BLAZED THE TRAIL TO THE FUTURE BY CRAFTING THE MILLENNIUM DECLARATION IN THE THREE YEARS SINCE THE MILLENNIUM SUMMIT, MUCH HAS BEEN DONE BUT MUCH REMAINS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED TO ACHIEVE THE GOALS IT SET.

MR. PRESIDENT, I AM PLEASED TO REPORT THAT THE VISION OF THE MILLENNIUM SUMMIT AND PURSUIT OF THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS IN MY COUNTRY HAVE BEGUN TO BEAR FRUIT, AS THEY HAVE BEEN APPLIED IN OUR PEACE PROCESS FOR THE SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES, IN MINDANAO.

BOTH THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT AND THE MILF, THE MUSLIM SEPARATIST GROUP IN THE SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES, REALIZE THAT THE PRESCRIPTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS IS THE CORRECT AND ONLY VIABLE ONE: THAT PEACE IS AN INDISPENSIBLE CONDITION FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT JUST AS DEVELOPMENT IS AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT OF PEACE. NOTHING WILL DO MORE TO LIFT THE PHILIPPINES OUT OF POVERTY THAN PEACE ITSELF.

THE GOVERNMENT OF MALAYSIA HAS BEEN A PRIME MOVER IN HELPING US NEGOTIATE PEACE WITH THE MILF.

TO COMPLEMENT THESE EFFORTS, THE PHILIPPINES HAS LAUNCHED ITS BID FOR OBSERVER STATUS IN THE ORGANIZATION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE. I WILL BE ATTENDING THE OIC CONFERENCE NEXT MONTH IN MALAYSIA AND HOPE TO USE THAT TIME TO ADVANCE THE PEACE PROCESS IN MINDANAO AND ADVANCE THE UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN ALL FAITHS.

MR. PRESIDENT, I WISH TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO THANK THE UNITED NATIONS COMMUNITY FOR ITS SUPPORT FOR THE PHILIPINES AS A NON-PERMANENT MEMBER OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL FOR THE TERM 2004-2005, AND TO ASK FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT DURING THE ELECTIONS FOR THE COUNCIL.

WE WISH TO CONTRIBUTE OUR LONG EXPERIENCE IN THE UN SYSTEM, AS AN ORIGINAL FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE ORGANIZATION. WE HAVE ACTIVELY PARTICIPATED IN THE COUNCIL'S INITIATIVES TOWARDS THE PRESERVATION OF GLOBAL PEACE AND SECURITY THROUGHOUT THE PAST SIX DECADES, BOTH AS A PAST NON-PERMANENT MEMBER AND AS A CONTRIBUTOR TO UN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS AND OTHER COUNCIL ACTIVITIES.

THE PHILIPPINES HAS ACTIVELY CONTRIBUTED MILITARY AND POLICE PERSONNEL TO UN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS IN AFRICA, ASIA, THE AMERICAS, THE MIDDLE EAST AND EUROPE OVER THE PAST HALF-CENTURY. WE ARE NOW PREPARING TO CONTRIBUTE A CONTINGENT TO JOIN THE LATEST UN OPERATION, THE DEPLOYMENT TO LIBERIA NEXT MONTH.

OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR OUR COUNCIL PARTICIPATION INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

  THE PRINCIPLE OF COLLECTIVE SECURITY ESTABLISHED UNDER THE UN CHARTER SHOULD BE OBSERVED.

  THE SECURITY COUNCIL SHOULD MAINTAIN AND PURSUE A MULTILATERAL APPROACH TOWARDS THE PERFORMANCE OF ITS PRIMARY ROLE OF MAINTAINING INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY.

  OBSERVANCE OF THE RULE OF LAW IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE IN THE MAINTENANCE OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY.

I BELIEVE THERE IS A STRONG ROLE FOR THE UN TO PLAY IN IRAQ AND WELCOME AND ENCOURAGE UN INVOLVEMENT TO SHARE THE BURDEN WITH OTHER NATIONS LIKE THAT PHILIPPINES THAT ARE ALREADY PARTICIPATING IN THE RECONSTRUCTION OF IRAQ.

IT IS HEARTENING THAT WE ADOPTED AT THE LAST SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AN IMPORTANT RESOLUTION ON CONFLICT PREVENTION.

AS LONG AS CONFLICTS OCCUR, THERE IS A NEED TO STRENGTHEN OUR CAPACITIES FOR PEACEKEEPING, PEACE MAKING, AND PEACE­BUILDING.

INTERNATIONAL SECURITY-WHICH IN RECENT EXPERIENCE IS MOSTLY THREATENED BY IMPLODING AND FAILED STATES-MUST BE ANIMATED BY THE NEED TO PROTECT INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES FROM VIOLENCE. ITHAS ALSO BEEN AMPLY DEMONSTRATED THAT DEMOCRACY IS THE MOST CONDUCIVE CONDITION FOR THE RULE OF LAW TO FLOURISH.

ERECTING MACHINERIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE RULE OF LAW SHOULD BE INCLUDED AS A KEY PART OF ANY "EXIT STRATEGY" OF UN PEACE OPERATIONS. IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE SECURITY COUNCIL SHOULD PROVIDE THE LEADERSHIP IN MOVING THE UNITED NATIONS TO A STRONGER COMMITMENT TO THE RULE OF LAW IN AREAS WHERE THE UN IS CONDUCTING PEACE OPERATIONS.

MEANWHILE, THE CHALLENGES POSED BY THE GLOBAL THREAT OF TERRORISM ARE BEING EFFECTIVELY ADDRESSED THROUGH GROWING INTERNATIONAL COORDINATION AND COOPERATION, PARTICULARLY IN THE EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION, BEST PRACTICES AND LESSONS LEARNED.

WE ARE ACTIVELY ASSISTING THE WORK OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL'S COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE IN FIGHTING THE SPECTER OF GLOBAL TERRORISM, AND IS IN THE PROCESS OF RATIFYING THE IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS ON TERRORISM. AT THE SAME TIME, I AM WORKING WITH OTHER HEADS OF STATE TO ENSURE CONTINUED COOPERATION IN OUR BATTLE TO RID SOUTHEAST ASIA OF THE THREAT OF TERRORISM.

MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT IS REQUIRED OF US TODAY IS TO LINK UP ONCE MORE WITH THE VISION THAT OUR LEADERS CHARTED AT THE MILLENNIUM SUMMIT AND OTHER RECENT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES. AND WE SHOULD DO THIS BEHIND THE BANNER OF THE UNITED NATIONS.

THE UNITED NATIONS WAS INVENTED 58 YEARS AGO TO SERVE AS THE MULTILATERAL FORUM OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO JOINT HANDS IN CONFRONTING CHALLENGES. IT IS SOBERING TO REMEMBER THAT NO COUNTRY-BIG OR SMALL, RICH OR POOR-CAN FEEL SAFE OR THINK THAT IT CAN REMAIN UNAFFECTED BY VIOLENT CONFLICTS, ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION AND HUMAN SUFFERING. THE UN, TO FULFILL ITS ENVISIONED ROLE, MUST CONTINUE TO ADAPT TO CHANGING CONDITIONS.

THE UNITED NATIONS IS A SUI GENERIS GLOBAL INSTITUTION THAT CAN PLAY A CATALYTIC ROLE TO CONFRONT THESE CHALLENGES NOW AND IN THE FUTURE.

THEREFORE, IT BEHOOVES EVERY MEMBER OF THIS ORGANIZATION TO MAKE THE UNITED NATIONS RELEVANT AND INVIGORATE IT TO BECOME A MODERN NIMBLE AND DETERMINED AGENT FOR CHANGE, WHICH BENEFITS MANKIND'S CONDITION.

MR. PRESIDENT, WE SHOULD INSTILL THE CONCEPT OF STRENGTH AND GREATNESS NOT IN TERMS OF THE ABILITY TO ACHIEVE OR MAINTAIN DOMINANCE OVER OTHERS, BUT IN TERMS OF THE ABILITY OF NATIONS TO WORK WITH OTHERS IN THE INTEREST OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE.

WE ARE FOR THE STRENGTH OF CONSENSUS, IN WHICH LIES THE FUTURE OF WORLD PEACE, SECURITY AND PROSPERITY.

THANK YOU.