UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America
September 23, 2017

Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano addressed the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at the UN Headquarters in New York, United States of America.

In his keynote address, Secretary Cayetano underscored how this year’s assembly theme mirrors the Philippine government’s people-center agenda as articulated by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

“The theme for this year’s session — “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on A Sustainable Planet” — captures a promise that everyone who has stood here vowed to fulfill for his own people… President Duterte and the Filipino people are committed to real change, ‘Tunay na Pagbabago’, to finally carrying out long-needed reforms,” said Secretary Cayetano.

He stressed that the government of the Philippines has integrated the human rights agenda in its development initiatives for the protection of its people, hence, the massive campaign against illegal drugs, crime, and corruption.

“The Philippines’ comprehensive campaign against illegal drugs is necessary instrument to preserve and protect the human rights of all Filipinos… As a responsible leader, the Philippine President launched a vigorous campaign against the illegal drug trade to save lives… and stop the country’s slide into a narco-state,” he said, adding that President Duterte has stern zero-tolerance for abusive law enforcers.

Additionally, Secretary Cayetano imparted that with the emergence of Islamic extremists, particularly relating to the Marawi City siege, the Philippine government welcomes the creation of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office to cohesively work on counter-terrorism measures among the member states and within the UN.

“It will be a sharing of experience and sober reflection rather than of blind anxieties… As a founding member of the UN, the Philippines have been a strong advocate of the rule of law. We uphold the core of the UN mission — to draw upon the strength and sovereignty, equality of its members to achieve their common goals,” he added.

In addressing territorial disputes, the Secretary shared that the Philippines, being the Chair of the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits, looks forward to the successful negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea. He also extended the country’s gratitude to the individual ASEAN Member States and to China for their cooperation.

“Today, the Philippines patiently builds stronger relations with the international community through the ASEAN and the great United Nations. We remain a friend to all and an enemy to none — we are here to bridge, to build a more peaceful, secure and stable world,” Secretary Cayetano ended.

The UNGA formally opened its 72nd Session on September 12, 2017. Its annual General Debate aims to create an avenue where world leaders share their views on current events.

The Philippines became a member state of the UN on October 24, 1945 when the government signed the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, USA together with 49 other nations.

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