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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
Mr. Elmer G. Cato
at the General Debate of the 29th Session of the Committee on Information
1 May 2007
Let me begin by congratulating you and the members of your bureau on your well-deserved election. I would like to assure you of the full support and cooperation of the Philippine Delegation as you lead the 29 th Session of the Committee on Information to its successful outcome.
The Philippines would also like to extend its congratulations to H.E. Kiyo Akasaka on his appointment as the new Undersecretary General for Communications and Public Information. We thank him for sharing with us his vision for the Department of Public Information (DPI) and we also look forward to joining him as he embarks on his journey to tell the United Nations story.
The Philippines would also like to take this opportunity to commend Mr. Shashi Tharoor for his outstanding leadership during the six years that he was at the helm of the DPI. My delegation would also like to pay tribute to Ambassador Mihnea Ioan Mutoc of Romania for his successful stewardship of the 27th and 28th Sessions of the Committee.
The Philippines Delegation would be remiss if it would not salute the men and women of the DPI for giving the world a better appreciation and understanding of the United Nations and how its work impacts on the lives of each and every person on this planet.
The Philippines associates itself with the statement delivered yesterday by Pakistan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. We also join other delegations in welcoming the Dominican Republic and fellow ASEAN member Thailand to the Committee.
The Philippine Delegation is impressed with the accomplishments of the DPI in the two years since it reoriented itself and adopted a more strategic approach to accomplish its mandate. We are encouraged by the steady progress made by the DPI as reported to us by the Secretary General. We expect the DPI to continue sharing the good news about the United Nations to the widest audience possible.
As the DPI pursues its task, the Philippines would like to underline the importance of properly coordinating the overall public information and communications activities of the UN system. We expect the DPI to further strengthen this approach to ensure that the UN is able to effectively bring its message across through the UN Communications Group at UN Headquarters and the UN Information Centers worldwide.
The DPI would of course not be able to share the UN story on its own and needs the support of the media. We are thus heartened to hear from the Undersecretary General that the DPI has been successful in its efforts to strengthen its partnership with journalists by being more sensitive to their requirements. It is our hope in the coming year that the DPI would be able to further expand and enhance its relations with the members of the media not just in New York but also in other parts of the world.
The Philippines would like to take this opportunity to give emphasis to the vital role the DPI plays in promoting a better and peaceful world. We laud its efforts to promote and strengthen dialogue among civilizations and the culture of peace as a means of enhancing understanding among nations.
My Delegation would like the DPI to continue providing the necessary support for the dissemination of information pertaining to the aforementioned issues and to take due steps in fostering the culture of dialogue among civilizations and promoting religious and cultural understanding through the mass media.
The Philippines looks forward to the support of the DPI in the ongoing efforts to promote interfaith cooperation, particularly the convening in September of a high-level dialogue on inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace which we are spearheading along with Pakistan and a number of other member-states.
The Philippines is pleased with how the DPI has been promoting issues of importance to the international community, especially the thematic communications campaigns it undertook in support of the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development and the Millennium Development Goals—issues which are of importance to my country. We would like to see more of these activities in the future.
The Philippines wishes to stress the importance of enhancing the role and capacity of the DPI in the field of peacekeeping operations . We look forward to the DPI's continued cooperation with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in raising public awareness on the new realities in modern-day peacekeeping, most especially the surge in the demand for Blue Helmets to support the growing need for multidimensional and complex operations in conflict areas worldwide.
We note in this respect, the emphasis given on information dissemination and the greater role the DPI will play as part of the Secretary General's plan to restructure the DPKO. The Philippines thus welcomes efforts by the DPI and the DPKO to develop and implement a comprehensive communications strategy on current challenges facing UN peacekeeping, including the creation of a joint public information working group.
The Philippines feels that this is the right response to the pressing need to highlight the achievements and challenges of UN peacekeeping.
The Philippine Delegation wishes to reiterate its call for more efforts to bridge the digital divide. We would like to see the DPI make full use of new technology to allow the public better and faster access to information about the UN. At the same time, we encourage the continued utilization of traditional media to reach out to the peoples of the developing countries who have limited or no access at all to emerging information technology.
We also would like to underscore the importance of making appropriate use of the official languages of the UN in all the activities of the DPI with the aim of eliminating disparity between the use of English and the five other official languages. We take note of the progress achieved to attain this end but expect further improvements in the near future.
The Philippines supports the efforts of the DPI to bring the UN directly to the classrooms. We call on the DPI to further strengthen its linkages with academic institutions worldwide, particularly through its Academic Initiative and Educational Outreach Program.
I would like to close by taking this opportunity to express our appreciation to the Undersecretary General and the senior staff of DPI for the interactive dialogue we had with them yesterday. We always look forward to such productive exchanges.
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