Statement delivered by
H.E. LIBRAN N. CABACTULAN
Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations
During the Third Committee Debate on
Agenda Item 26: Social Development
69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
The Philippines joins others in congratulating you and the members of the Bureau for your election. We assure you of our full support as you lead and guide us through our program of work.
The Philippines associates itself with the statements made by Bolivia on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and by Malaysia on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
As we prepare to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the World Summit for Social Development in 2015, we note that challenges and gaps remain in the implementation of its goals.
Indeed, there is a need to foster an empowering approach to policymaking if we are to fully achieve the WSSD’s goals. The Philippines fully agrees with the Secretary General’s report that empowerment of people is important both as an end in itself and as a means to achieve inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. We also agree that a two-pronged track in policymaking, that involves equalizing opportunities and eliminating barriers to participation and reaching those who face the greatest challenges in escaping poverty and exclusion through targeted measures, is necessary for achieving the WSSD’s goals.
This two-track approach, together with transparency, good governance and strong macro-economic fundamentals has enabled the Philippines to attain consistent economic growth since 2010. Our challenge now is ensuring that this growth is inclusive and provides equitable access to development opportunities for all, especially the poor. To this end, the Philippine Government has updated its Philippine Development Plan by putting in place sector-focused strategies, which should help us achieve our vision of inclusive and sustainable growth.
Acknowledging that the real measure of progress is improvement in the lives of our people, we are creating conditions for productive and remunerative work, investing in universal health care and investing in people’s potential and social protection, as illustrated by our conditional cash transfer program linked directly to children’s school attendance and ensuring that they will follow all the guidelines for health care. We are also ensuring financial inclusion through expanded and creative financing for micro and small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Equally important is the availability of disaggregated data and a solid statistical system to ensure that policymaking is evidence-based.
We look forward to the 53rd Session of the Commission on Social Development on 4-13 February 2015. Its choice of the priority theme "Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world" is a right step in focusing the discussions on the review of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, the Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, the World Programme of Action for Youth and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.
We thank the Secretary General for his comprehensive report on the progress made in mainstreaming disability in the development agenda.
We welcome the adoption of the outcome document of the high level meeting of the General Assembly last year on the realization of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, for persons with disabilities.
We note with concern, however, that only 21 member states and 10 UN entities provided information on progress made towards the realization of the IADGs and the MDGs for persons with disabilities. Considering our continued emphasis on the importance of data and of evidence-based policymaking, it is vital that more member states and UN entities provide information on their laws, policies and practices.
We will again submit to this Committee a resolution on disabilities. This resolution will make technical updates and take note of the outcome of the high-level meeting last year.
The elderly sector comprises 6.8% of the Philippine population. It is an integral part of Philippine society and is a priority of the Philippine Government.
The Secretary General’s report on the Follow-Up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing shows that much more needs to be done in developing a framework for the protection of older persons. Progress has been made through the sessions of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, but we are still far from a general agreement on the approaches to the issue and even on definitions of basic concepts. Data is also needed in this regard, especially on violence and abuse against older women.
On literacy, we thank UNESCO for its report and express our support for the five strategic axes proposed, particularly on the use of information and communication technologies as modes of literacy delivery.
Even as we are urged to focus on the social dimension of development, the Philippine experience with disasters shows that sustainable development goals cannot be achieved without managing disaster risks. Hence, disaster risk reduction and management should be integrated in the development agenda at the national, regional and international levels, otherwise we risk losing the gains in our development goals.
Thank you, Madam Chair.