H.E. LIBRAN N. CABACTULAN
Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations
Third Committee Debate: Agenda Items 105 and 106: Crime and Drugs
69th Session of the UN General Assembly UN Headquarters, New York, 09 October 2014
Thank you Madam Chair.
The Philippines aligns itself with the statement made by Malaysia on behalf of ASEAN.
We thank the Executive Director of UNODC and the Chair of the 57th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for their introductory briefings.
We also thank the Secretary General for his succinct but comprehensive reports on these items.
The issues that we face under these agenda items – transnational organized crime, corruption, money laundering, illegal trade in wildlife and human organs, trafficking in firearms, drugs, piracy and terrorism – are inextricably linked to each other, not just by virtue of their transnational character but also because of the very elements that define them as crimes: the actors involved, the victims, the effects and the methods of committing and perpetuating them.
These issues are of particular and of major concern to the Philippines because our nationals are literally everywhere in the world. They are in ships sailing through the African horn and other pirate-infested seas; they are valuable members of the economic workforces of countries from North and South America to Europe to Middle East to Asia. Consequently they have become victims, and sometimes unwitting accomplices of perpetrators, of transnational crime. It is because of this special situation that the protection of and assistance to our nationals has become one of the main pillars of our foreign policy.
Hence we fully subscribe to the need for a comprehensive system and complimentary national, regional and international frameworks to combat them.
At the core of this is the international legal framework. In this regard, we are pleased to note that since our last session, more states have acceded to or ratified the Organized Crime Convention, the Palermo Protocol, the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol and the Convention on Corruption (UNCAC). We hope that by the next session, we will have achieved universal ratification.
Beyond ratification, however, is translation into domestic legislation. And beyond legislation is translation into effective implementation.
It is well known that becoming a state party to these Conventions and Protocols imposes necessary but heavy reportorial requirements for Member States. There are also the obligations to align or enact domestic laws and regulations and to train law enforcement and judicial officers. UNODC’s support in this regard is vital and we laud UNODC for the end-to-end technical assistance it has provided Member States so that they may be able to fulfill these obligations.
Effective implementation is anchored on both adequate capacity and political will. The Philippine Government has shown this political will with its crusade against corruption and emphasis on open governance and transparency. Government officials and prominent politicians have been charged under anti-corruption laws. Efforts against drug trafficking, money laundering, trafficking in persons especially women and children, smuggling of migrants and financing of terrorism have also been stepped up.
In the past year, the Philippines has seen an alarming increase in the rise of cybercrime, particularly the use of information technology to abuse and exploit children. We express serious concern over this and urge expanded international cooperation and increased technical assistance to combat these.
We urge the same for trafficking in endangered species of wildlife. The Philippines is one of the world’s biodiversity capitals and is encountering more cases of trafficking in endangered wildlife species. It is therefore important that Member States enact legislation to classify this as a serious crime.
Two important meetings are coming up: the 12th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2015 and the UNGA Special Session on Drugs in 2016.
We pledge our full support to these, and are pleased that the preparatory process for both meetings has been inclusive and has taken cognizance of the views of member states, regional and international organizations and civil society.
We will be presenting our bi-annual resolution on Trafficking in Women and Children, and we look forward to the support of Member States to this resolution that addresses the issue in a comprehensive and all-encompassing manner.
In relation to this, we urge Member States to also support the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.
We also look forward to the publication of the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. This is an important policy tool to bolster governments’ evidence-based policymaking.
If unaddressed, the effects of crime and drugs will undermine political and economic progress, and more importantly, our development goals.
Recognizing this, the Philippine Government has integrated crime prevention, criminal justice and good governance in its national development plans.
The Philippines therefore supports the consideration of these in the discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.
Thank you, Madam Chair.