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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
Mr. RAPHAEL S.C. HERMOSO
(Agenda Item 62 B) Social Development Including Questions Related to the world social situation and to the youth, ageing, disabled persons, and the family
The Philippines joins other delegations in congratulating you on your assumption as chair. We also congratulate other members of the bureau on their election.
At the outset I would like to assure you of my delegation’s support and cooperation.
The Philippines associates itself with the statement made by Pakistan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
My delegation would like to focus its statement on two issues, the youth and persons with disabilities.
The Philippines has taken a bold step in engaging the youth in the policy-making process demonstrated by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s appointment of young people to head the Office of the President’s National Youth Commission (equivalent to a Youth Ministry). This year, our government has sent one of the officials of the Youth Commission, to be the Philippines’s first youth representative to the UN General Assembly, proof of our commitment in pursuing the goals outlined in the UN’s World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY).
This initial participation of the Philippines’s Commissioner for Youth to the 62 nd UN General Assembly should pave the way for the development of policy that should ensure the continued participation of qualified, deserving and committed young Filipinos to the UN General Assembly and other important and relevant UN meetings.
The Philippine National Youth Commission (NYC) also seeks to further champion the cause of the Filipino youth and continues to find ways to strengthen our partnership with the more than 24 million youth in our country, recognizing them as valuable co-agents of positive change. The Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) model or Youth Councils where youth under the age of 24 sit as policymakers and implementers offers much potential as a dynamic youth force in nation-building. Our government is currently seeking the reform of the SK model, taking into account lessons learned from over a decade since the SK's inception and inclusion in each local government's set-up. While we are pushing for genuine reform in this existing opportunity for actual youth participation in governance and policy-making, the upcoming local elections for the SKs offers yet another golden opportunity to mentor and guide these young government leaders towards more responsive, MDG-inspired programs and platforms of government. Each SK/ Youth Council according to the Philippine Local Government Code is mandated to receive 10 percent of the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of the locality to which it belongs, therefore giving it enough funds and empowering them to come up with sustainable programs and initiatives that can assist our government in achieving our MDG targets.
The ASEAN Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations Award seeks to recognize outstanding youth programs related to the MDGs throughout the ASEAN region. Spearheaded by the NYC, it seeks to record good practices from other countries and provides for an opportunity to share amongst the ASEAN youth experiences, lessons learned and recommendations in helping achieve the MDGs while desiring to establish an ASEAN Community, also by the year 2015.
On the issue of persons with disabilities, the Philippines appreciates continued focus on this particular segment of global society, which according to estimates number around 650 million people.
The Philippine government is very committed to improving the lives of persons with disabilities and is continually looking for ways to empower them by providing them access and equal opportunities so they can become active participants and contributors to society. The protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities and their participation in the development process are part of the strategies of my government.
It is in this context that the Philippines became a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and we welcome the increased participation of Member States to this important treaty. As of now there are 114 signatories with 7 ratifications. My delegation is encouraged at the rate with which Member States are signing on and look forward to the time when this convention has been universally accepted.
The implementation of this document is key to improving the lives of persons with disabilities, especially in the developing countries where a great number of these people reside.
It is unfortunate but a widely accepted fact that most persons with disabilities are among the poorest of the poor. One way of empowering them is to make sure that they benefit from the economic progress being experienced by states. Cooperation among all nations in the development field and the sharing of knowledge, technologies, and capabilities are important and will help improve the capacity and ability of states so they can better address issues faced by persons with disabilities.
Furthermore my delegation would like to stress the need for the Millennium Development Goals to be more disability inclusive. The Philippines would like to take the opportunity during the Fifth Review and Appraisal of the World Program of Action to bring into the mainstream the issue of persons with disabilities and link it with efforts on the Millennium Development Goals.
A world leader once said “A nation’s greatness can be seen in the way it treats its weakest citizens.” As member states of the United Nations let us show our collective greatness by working together so we can give proper treatment through aid, relief, and equal opportunities to a large segment of global society who rightly deserves our help.
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