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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
As it is my first time to speak before the 6 th Committee, I personally congratulate you on your election as Chair of the 6 th Committee and wish you success in all your endeavors. You and your Bureau will have the full support and cooperation of the Philippines.
My delegation fully aligns itself with the statements delivered by the Permanent Representative of Vietnam on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and by the Representative of Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The Philippines condemns all forms of terrorism. No cause or dogma can ever justify its use. The Philippines has consistently maintained that peace and security are essential to our economic growth and prosperity, and that terrorist acts are a direct threat to the well-being of our nation. As such, we continue to advocate a comprehensive and focused approach in anti-terrorism and the policy covers four major areas or pillars.
The First: The strengthening of the legislative infrastructure to penalize terrorism and those abetting and supporting terrorist activities. The Philippines has enacted the Human Security Act of 2007 to secure the State and to protect the people from acts of terrorism. The Human Security Act of 2007 (HSA) is part of a holistic and comprehensive approach to address terrorism and its root causes. It stresses the importance of strengthening the current efforts to prevent terrorists from committing acts of violence and ensure the safety and security of our people. Under the HSA, anti-terrorism efforts have progressed from reactive to proactive measures. It mandates the proscription of terrorist organizations, associations or groups of persons. The penalty for the crime is made commensurate to the grave nature of terrorism. It complements and provides the needed legal framework to our various anti-terrorism arrangements with other countries and establishes a permanent anti-terrorism mechanism in our country.
The Second: The undertaking of international cooperation arrangements to secure not only our borders but also ensure the safety of Filipino workers overseas, enhance and build our law enforcement capabilities and aid in the capture of known terrorists. The Philippines is party to twelve of the existing international conventions and protocols against terrorism. It continues to build a strong web of bilateral and regional cooperation agreements to combat terrorism and strengthen our law enforcement capabilities. As a member of ASEAN, the Philippines is part yto the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism. The Convention provides the overarching framework for regional cooperation to counter, prevent and suppress terrorism in all its forms and manifestation and to strengthen cooperation among law enforcement agencies and relevant authorities in countering terrorism. The Convention also includes an article on Fair Treatment (Article VIII) that guarantees the enjoyment of any person taken into custody pursuant to this Convention of all rights and guarantees in conformity with national laws, the applicable provisions of international law in the territory in which that person is present, including international human rights law.
The third pillar of the Philippines’ anti-terrorism policy is the maintenance of active vigilance and the development of timely and effective response mechanisms in the event of a terrorist attack. It has recently launched an anti-terrorism hotline via text messaging, or sms, making use of the ubiquitous cellphone’s convenience and speed in disseminating information.
Finally, the fourth: The utilization of the tools of interfaith dialogue to reduce disenfranchisement, increase understanding of the causes of conflict and generate economic development. The Philippines believes that terrorism takes root in conditions of poverty, injustice and the depravity of human dignity, for which the Philippine government is determined to combat terrorism founded on this understanding. Poverty spawns terrorism, and the areas where extreme poverty exist serve as incubators of extremism that may end up in terrorism. Political and socio-economic marginalization, rooted in intolerance and misunderstanding, have long been recognized to hamper development efforts. The Philippine government addresses poverty and marginalization through interfaith and intercultural dialogue and understating and by focusing on the growth of the economy that create more new jobs and raise the needed resources to enhance the delivery of vital social services to uplift the lives of the people and turn them away from terrorism. From the Philippine experience, interfaith dialogue, economic development, and social justice are powerful instruments against extremism and terrorism. May I take this opportunity to inform all of you that the Philippines will host on 1-3 December 2009 the first Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace and Development.
Although the Philippines recognizes that combating terrorism and bringing terrorists to justice are acts that fall primarily on the implementation by Member States of their respective laws and international instruments to which they are parties, it emphasizes the value of international cooperation and capacity building and the crucial role that the United Nations play in this regard.
Terrorism directly threatens people and is an assault on their dignity. Our peoples must live free from fear, live in a safe and secure world. Terrorism not only poses a serious threat to the lives of our people, but also to the values and ideals that define our society. Terrorism reduces people to mere pawns in a ruthless game of competing beliefs and ideologies.
The Philippines believes that conflicts should be addressed before terrorism can begin to define or exploit the conflict. This can be done by working together with other nations. It therefore reaffirms that the fight against terrorism must be carried out in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and general norms of international law. It also submits that dialogues between peoples of different cultures, beliefs and civilizations should be pursued with vigor and enhanced without cease. Deep and historic divisions can be healed through a dialogue between the peoples of different civilizations. The Philippines further submits that our people’s differences, be they of belief or culture, should never be the basis for misunderstanding or conflict. It thus calls for the continued strengthening of coordinated efforts in implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and urges delegations to seek common ground in finalizing the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism.
I thank you.
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