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

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

at the Third Committee

Agenda Item 59 Social Development

New York, 3 October 2006

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, allow me to congratulate you and the rest of the Bureau on your election. I would like to assure you of my delegation’s support and cooperation in the fulfillment of the tasks of this Committee.

I also join others in expressing appreciation for the comprehensive report of the Secretary-General focusing on the progress that had been achieved during the Decade and identifying further constraints and challenges in key areas of implementation as well as on the outcome of deliberations during the 44th session of the Commission for Social Development.

The Philippines associates itself with the statement made by South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Mr. Chairman,

Despite considerable progress in the last decade, we find ourselves still far short of our goal to eradicate global poverty. We see poverty not only in terms of material deprivation, but understand it also in terms of economic and social exclusion and the denial of human rights. The clamor for a comprehensive approach to poverty eradication policies to address its root and structural causes remains a valid point and so is incorporating equity and equality measures for it to be effective. We should further strengthen integrating economic and social goals and policies rather than focus on economic goals alone which may lead to greater social disparities, polarization and exclusion. We also note that while the multidimensional understanding of poverty has widened, recognizing the links between the social aspects of poverty and the macroeconomic architecture has not really translated into policies. It is in this regard that my government is intensifying its implementation of the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan for the period 2004-2010 with more focused and integrated action strategies that include: the promotion of livelihood, strengthening of education, attainment of fiscal stability, decentralized development, and arriving at sustained national harmony.

Mr. Chairman,

The scarcity of resources needed to achieve the development goals in developing countries is a challenge that we continue to face. We recognize that adequate financial and technical resources are needed to ensure the success of social development goals. We appreciate and acknowledge developed countries who have honored their commitment of allocating 0.7 percent of their GDP to this cause. We encourage them and the International Financial Institutions to seriously consider the “debt-for-equity in MDG projects” proposal that the Philippines initiated as one innovative tool to provide fiscal breathing space from the huge debt-service burden being experienced by low and middle income developing countries. The proposal does not ask debt forgiveness nor debt cancellation, nor debt moratorium nor debt discounts. It does not call for new budgetary outlays from parliaments of rich countries nor reduce the face value of creditor financial assets. Creditor developed countries, multilateral institution, and large commercial banks are invited on a voluntary basis, to plow back into the economies of debtor countries 50 percent of previously agreed portion of the debt service payments due them in the form of equities, and channeled to MDG projects such as mass-housing, safe water system, hospitals, micro-financing, infrastructure or reforestation. Creditors would have the option of choosing which MDG projects to support in a debtor country.
At the recent High-level Meeting on Migration and Development, the role of remittances as a tool for development was widely discussed. We urge States and the UN system to continue its discussion on how best to facilitate the optimization of remittances as a driver of sustainable development.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines also appreciate the continued focus on the various vulnerable groups. My government remains fully committed to better their lives and continue to seek ways and means to empower them so that they can participate actively and productively in society. The protection of their human rights and their equal participation in the development process are main strategies included in plans and programs that we have developed and implemented. It is in this context that we welcome the recently concluded negotiations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Disability. We hope that States don’t fall short of the expectations of the 650 million people with disabilities around the world. We believe we have crafted a good text but the real test will be in the implementation of the Convention especially in developing countries where the majority of persons with disabilities reside. A re-affirmation that human beings are all equal must be translated to address the sad reality that most of the people with disabilities are among the poorest of the poor. A sure way of empowering them is to ensure that they enjoy the fruits of development. International cooperation among States will play a vital role so that the aspirations and dreams of persons with disabilities worldwide are realized.
My government also believes that a key element to overcoming inequality and combating poverty is by providing decent and productive jobs to its people. To address this issue, the Philippines adopts four major employment strategies in the pursuit of decent and productive employment: employment generation, employment preservation, employment facilitation and employment enhancement. The Philippines has especially focused on the plight of young people – aged 15-24- who comprise the great majority of the population and are mostly unemployed. Five major capability-building programs supported by various departments in the government are being implemented for in-school and out-of-school youths so that they can actively participate in productive and sustainable community development efforts. These are: The Farm Youth Development Program, Working Youth Center, Young Filipino Entrepreneur Program and the Working Street Youth program. The provision of employment opportunities, enhancement of skills and capabilities in preparation for employment and economic empowerment form part of the strategies in these programs. By implementing these strategies we could hope for a brighter future for our youth.

Mr. Chairman,

We support the Secretary-General’s conclusion that an “enabling environment is a crucial precondition for achieving equity and social development”. It is important to note that enhanced partnerships between governments, civil society and the private sector have made a significant contribution to the achievement of progress. Poverty eradication is an ethical, social, political and economic imperative that should be addressed collectively by the international community. We should all continue to work together in further strengthening these partnerships so that we can truly attain a “society for all.”

Thank you.

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