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Committee on Information (CoI) General Debate – Fourth Committee Agenda item 55: Questions relating to information

Monday, 26 April 2021
H.E. MR. ENRIQUE A. MANALO, Permanent Representative, Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations
Conference Room 1, UNHQ


Mr. Chairman (Ecuador),

The Philippines aligns itself with the statement delivered by Guinea on behalf of the G77+China.

I wish to congratulate you on your well-deserved election and assure you of our full support. I also thank Ambassador Omar Hilale (Morocco) for his leadership and important contributions in the last two years. We also thank the Asia-Pacific Group and the Committee Members for their support of the Philippines as one of the Vice-Chairs of the Committee for 2021-2023. I also wish to acknowledge Under-Secretary-General Melissa Fleming and thank her for the important statement.

Mr. Chairman,

More than ever before, information is making a tremendous impact on our world. In this age of Big Data and cybersecurity concerns, many invisible forces are at work against the backdrop of an ever-evolving landscape of international relations and diplomacy. A deeply connected world has created a global landscape that presents many opportunities for cooperation, empowerment and progress, at the same time causing complications that could curtail freedoms and hinder development. We must work to ensure that a connected world promotes harmony instead of discord, especially in the context of a pandemic and the corresponding infodemic.

The challenges to the Department of Global Communications or DGC have never been greater. Since 1979, the Department has launched strategies, implemented and evaluated programs and activities, covering a wide range of issues from social and economic development, climate change, human rights and the Question of Palestine; to decolonization, UN peace operations, counter-terrorism, migrants and refugees, among others.

We therefore commend the Department’s consistent championing of the value of multilingualism. Launched last year, the UN Global Communications Strategy depicts the Organization serving as a platform “to point out what is going right, what is possible, and how the United Nations and its Member States are making a difference.” 

We also recognize the Department’s innovative “Global Media Compact” initiative, aimed at “leveraging the power and influence of the media to create awareness and inspire action.”

For ASEAN Member States, leveraging the power and influence of the media through information and communications technology or ICT could mean propelling ASEAN towards a digitally-enabled economy that is secure, sustainable and transformative.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines submits the following points:

  1. First, the Philippines continues to support the UN Department of Global Communications (DGC) as a “responsible messenger” of the UN, providing accurate, reliable and timely information.
  2. Second, the Philippines reiterates its support for the work of the Committee on Information and the DGC to connect UN’s work with the international community in promoting the three pillars of peace and security, development, and human rights.
  3. Third, Member States and Observers, in partnership with key stakeholders such as civil society, private sector and the media, should continue to responsibly harness the power of information to promote peace, inclusivity and development.
  • Fourth, any information released by the UN and its agencies should be properly triangulated, including giving Member States the opportunity to provide their side. This is in view of some instances where sweeping allegations and generalizations having been made against a Member State due to information received from some sources which are unsubstantiated. Given concerns about misinformation and the ‘post-truth era,” it is crucial that information is carefully triangulated and substantiated, in the spirit of transparency and impartiality.
  1. Finally, whether through national ownership or community-driven initiatives, the Philippines believes that the core task of information is to provide a platform of opportunities to effect transformational change and ensure that no one is left behind especially under extraordinary circumstances.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  END