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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
By
H.E. Lauro L. Baja, Jr.
Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations

during the
General Debate of the Fourth Committee
on Agenda Item 33: Questions Relating to Information

Conference Room 4, 13 October 2005

Mr. Chairman.

We congratulate you and the members of the bureau on your election and assure you of the support and cooperation of the Philippine Delegation as you steer the work of the Committee.

The Philippines would also like to express its appreciation to the Permanent Representative of Myanmar for his outstanding leadership during the previous session and to the members of his bureau.

Our appreciation also goes to the Secretary General for his report on “Questions Relating to Information” (A/60/173) and to Undersecretary General Shashi Tharoor for his usual comprehensive and incisive briefing on how the Department of Public Information (DPI) carried out its work since the last session of the Committee.

The Philippines also aligns itself with the statement made by the Permanent Representative of Thailand on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the statement of the Permanent Representative of Jamaica on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Mr. Chairman,

The role of DPI in promoting a positive image of the United Nations is indispensable. The past year has been a challenging one as far as the work of DPI is concerned. The controversies surrounding the Iraq Oil for Food Program and the allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse involving peacekeepers unfortunately received more prominent newspaper space and television and radio airtime than DPI’s efforts to positively project the work of the United Nations.

Painting a good picture of the United Nations through the timely delivery of accurate and quality information is not an easy undertaking. Despite this, DPI, as the public voice of the Organization, has risen to the challenge and the Philippines joins other delegations in commending the men and women of DPI for a job well done in bringing across the message of the United Nations to as many people as possible within the limits of the resources made available to them.

We would also like to salute DPI for its handling of the aftermath of the killer tsunami in South and Southeast Asia late last year as well as its efforts to promote the goals and objectives of the Millennium Development Plan and other United Nations initiatives relating to poverty alleviation, conflict prevention, human rights, HIV/AIDS awareness and sustainable development.

We also commend DPI for its important role in projecting the recent High Level Plenary Meeting here in New York. DPI also figured prominently in the third summit meeting of the Security Council that was presided over by our President. The Philippine-initiated Tripartite Conference on Interfaith Dialogue for Peace and Cooperation held here on 22 June would also not have been possible without DPI’’s collaboration. We are also grateful to DPI for its collaboration on the Philippine-initiated Tripartite Conference on Interfaith Dialogue for Peace and Cooperation held here on 22 June and on the Informal Meeting of Leaders on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace on 13 September.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines is indeed heartened to hear from no less than the Undersecretary General himself that DPI is now better equipped and better prepared as a result of the new strategic direction it has taken as part of the reorientation program it started three years ago.

We believe that DPI is on the right track with the client-oriented approach it adopted to advance the substantive objectives of the United Nations as well as its improved system-wide coordination of public information activities.

We believe that these measures and the expansion of DPI’s linkages with media and non-government organizations and its use of new information and communication technology will now allow it to reach out to a much larger audience and respond more effectively to present-day challenges.

Mr. Chairman,

As we move on, the Philippines would want to see an enhanced public information capacity for DPI to allow it to promote a better understanding and appreciation not only of the Organization but also of the people behind it—from the UN Headquarters here in New York to the various field missions in Africa and other parts of the world.

In particular, we expect DPI to continue to enlarge its cooperation with other substantive organs of the United Nations, particularly with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Political Affairs.

In view of the outcry against allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations as well as other negative publicity in other missions overseas, the Philippines, as the largest troop-contributing-country from ASEAN, would like to see DPI and the information components of the various missions speak with one voice in immediately and effectively addressing any issues or concerns that may arise in the field.

Such quick response mechanism, we believe, should be complemented by a sustained public information drive to provide the host governments and their peoples with a better understanding of the United Nations and its activities in their countries.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines sees a continuing need for the United Nations to make its presence felt in all corners of the globe and make people not only aware of the organization but also understand how it touches their lives. Towards this end, DPI could pay special attention to the special needs and requirements of developing nations in the field of information and communication technology.

All available channels should be used in reaching out not only to the mainstream outlets but also to the common man through the use of traditional media and the native languages. Radio stations, community newspapers and cable television stations in areas outside capitals should be encouraged to tell the story of the United Nations.

UN Information Centers would also play a crucial role in bringing the good news about the UN down to the grassroots. The Philippines, therefore, supports calls for the allocation of additional resources for UNICs, especially those in the least developed and developing countries of Asia and Africa.

The Philippines would also like to see DPI continue its work with member-states to help promote a better understanding of our organization with our respective publics. One way to do this is to further expand DPI’s existing linkages with educational institutions to explore the possibility of including a subject on the United Nations in the school curriculum.

We are pleased with the outcome of yesterday’s interactive session between the Undersecretary General and the members of the Committee and would like to encourage such exchange of views and other interactions with DPI in the future.

Allow us to close, Mr. Chairman, by underscoring the commitment of the Philippine Delegation to contribute positively to the work of the Committee. We are looking forward to a productive session under your able leadership.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.









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