Palace praises Duterte’s debut address at UNGA

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte speaks before the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Sept. 23

Malacañang on Thursday, September 24, commended President Rodrigo Duterte’s first-ever speech before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), calling it “excellent.”

“The president’s speech in the UN General Assembly, I thought, was excellent. And I think halos lahat ng Pilipino ay kinilala po na talagang napakagaling at napaka-komprehensibo at malinaw ang naging talumpati ng ating Presidente (Almost all Filipinos recognized that the president’s speech was very good, comprehensive, and clear),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“Wala pong pagkakaiba ng polisiya, iyan po talaga ang, kumbaga, very brief summary ng mga polisiya ng ating presidente sa iba’t-ibang isyu (There was no change in policies. It was a very brief summary of the president’s policies on various issues),” he added.

Roque also said that a team of writers composed Duterte’s UN speech, but stressed that the Chief Executive chose the topics that were discussed in it.

“Ang gumawa po ng speech na iyan ay marami, iyan po, tawagin na lamang natin silang Team Philippines. Pero iyong mga subject matter po na nabanggit ng presidente pagdating sa mga international issues, si presidente po mismo ang namili kung ano ang gusto niyang i-discuss (Many people made the speech. Let’s just call them Team Philippines. But the president himself selected the subject matters on international issues which he wanted to discuss),” he said.

Duterte on Wednesday, September 23, addressed the UNGA for the first time since assuming office in 2016.

“I am honored to address you today on behalf of the Filipino people on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The invisible enemy that is COVID-19 has brought about an unfamiliar global landscape and unleashed a crisis without precedent. It is the biggest test the world and the United Nations faced since World War II,” Duterte said.
Duterte said that how the world will address COVID-19 will define our future.

“For the Philippines, this means putting up all of the peoples of our united nations at the core of this response,” the president said.

He encouraged each nation to put up a united front against the pandemic, saying the world needs are coordinated international plans and efforts to pursue a common purpose.

“COVID-19 knows no border. It knows no nationality. It knows no race. It knows no gender. It knows no age. It knows no creed,” Duterte stressed.

He also encouraged all countries to ease geopolitical tensions that continue to rise, as well as invoked the 2016 arbitral award on the South China Sea.

Duterte likewise promised that his government will continue to protect the human rights of its people, calling  for an open dialogue and constructive engagement with the United Nations.

“But these must be done in full respect of the principles of objectivity, noninterference, non-selectivity and genuine dialogue. These are the fundamental bases for productive international cooperation on human rights,” he said.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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