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Participation of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte 31st Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 16:15






Participation of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

31st Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

03 December 2020



President Rodrigo Roa Duterte addressed for the second time the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at its 31st Special Session in Response to the COVID-19 held virtually on 03 December 2020.


Building on his statement at the High-Level Debate of the historic 75th Session of the UNGA, the President further amplified the Philippines’ call for greater solidarity and enhanced cooperation to address the challenges brought about by the pandemic.


President Duterte once again pushed for universal access to safe and effective COVID- 19 vaccines and technologies, saying that life-saving services and products must be made accessible to the most vulnerable. The most to the least.”


He cautioned that “if any country is excluded by reason of poverty or strategic unimportance, this gross injustice will haunt the world for a long time”.



“It will completely discredit the values upon which the United Nations was founded he added.



In solidarity with ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), President Duterte also expressed strong support for the global medical and scientific initiatives forged at the WHO, including the ACT Accelerator, COVAX Facility, and C-TAP. He further reaffirmed that the Philippines will do its part by contributing in the pooling of global resources and helping other countries without preconditions.


“Our collective initiatives in the UN and other multilateral frameworks are our best chance to defeat COVID-19”, the President emphasized.


Noting the pandemic’s impact on peace and security with lawless elements weaponizing the crisis, President Duterte stressed that combatting terrorism is as urgent now as it was before. In the Philippines, this fight, he said, is about saving lives while preserving the nation’s democratic values. He reiterated Philippine support for the UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire.




While the pandemic is still far from over, President Duterte likewise said that the international community must already draw up a bounce back strategy – one that aims for a comprehensive and inclusive recovery.


The President proposed a recalibration of plans in order to build a better and healthier post-COVID-world. He added that a “new normal” must be founded using lessons from the crisis, particularly on the nexus between technology and innovation, on one hand, and the environment and economy, on the other hand .


The Special Session was held pursuant to Resolution 75/4 adopted by the General Assembly on 5 November 2020 to reaffirm the key role of the United Nations in maintaining global order, especially in the face of an unprecedented global public health crisis. It was first proposed by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), where the Philippines is a member. END