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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
The Philippines joins other delegations in congratulating you on your well-deserved election to and assumption of the chairmanship of the 47 th session of the Commission for Social Development, and the other members of the bureau on their equally well-deserved election.
At the outset I would like to assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation in the work of the Commission to ensure the success of this session.
While the Philippines associates itself with the statement made by Sudan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, it wishes to elaborate its views on item 3 (b) (i) entitled, “World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons.”
It is noted, from the data provided by the Secretariat, that 10 percent of the global population or about 650 million people worldwide possess disabilities, 80 percent of whom live in the developing world.
The Philippine government is seriously committed to improving the lives of persons with disabilities and is continually looking for ways to empower them by providing them, within available resources, access and equal opportunities so that they can become active and productive members of society. The protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities and their participation in the development process are mainstreamed in the policies and strategies of the Philippines. Among the laws in the Philippines that promote the rights and insure the participation of persons with disabilities are Republic Act No. 7277, otherwise known as the “Magna Carta for Disabled Persons;” Batas Pambansa Bilang 344 or the “Accessibility Law;” Republic Act No. 6759 or the “White Cane Act;” Executive Order 437, which “Encourages the Implementation of Community Based Rehabilitation for Persons with Disabilities;” and Executive Order 417 on “Directing the Implementation of the Economic Independence Program for Persons with Disabilities .” The Philippines also established the National Council on Disability Affairs, formerly known as the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons, which formulates policies and coordinates the implementation of the activities of the Government, as well as the private sector, concerning disability issues and concerns.
The Philippines signed and subsequently became a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. After the entry into force of the Convention, it participated actively in the first meeting of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities held from 31 October to 3 November 2008. The implementation of this Convention and the World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons together with the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, complement each other and are essential to improving the lives of persons with disabilities, especially in the developing countries.
Since most persons with disabilities are among the poorest of the poor, one way of empowering them is to make sure that they benefit from their countries’ economic development. International cooperation in the development field and in the sharing of knowledge, technologies, and capabilities will help improve the capacity and ability of developing countries to more effectively address issues faced by persons with disabilities.
While the Member States of the United Nations strive to achieve the 2015 targets of their commitments in the Millennium Development Goals, the Philippines is concerned that efforts and strategies to that end may not effectively filter down to persons with disabilities and could least likely benefit from conventional development processes.
The Philippines would like to stress the need to include the improvement of the plight of persons with disabilities as an integral part in the eight Millennium Development Goals. The Philippines submits that a conscious effort must be made to mainstream the issue of persons with disabilities in the MDG strategies.
We are fortunate to have the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons guide us in monitoring and effectively addressing the situation of persons with disabilities. Our aim must be to achieve full participation and equalization of opportunities for them, together with their empowerment and participation as both agents and beneficiaries of development.
The World Programme of Action recognizes the importance of measures within the context of economic and social development. At the same time, it emphasizes the active role of persons with disabilities in the development process.
The World Programme of Action is an important tool in the international disability architecture and attains and gains more relevance at this time when we are more than halfway in pursuing the MDGs. The goals and strategies of the World Programme of Action will help us achieve the MDGs and improve the situation of a large segment of our society whose development and inclusion will lead to positive gains for mankind as a whole.
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