UN Headquarters, New York
September 29, 2018

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, representing the Government of the Philippines, addressed the High-Level General Debate of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at the UN Headquarters in New York.
“Today, our social contract is no longer confined to our nation state. We should therefore exert efforts to connect, to emphasize commonalities and not differences, to think that we are less Filipinos, Americans, Chinese, French or Russians, and think more of ourselves as global citizens, the people of the United Nations,” Secretary Cayetano started in his speech.
He discussed the current state of the Philippines under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, stressing that the country is one with the United Nations in “being uncompromising on the issues of rule of law, just and equitable peace that leads to order, development and prosperity, and the protection of each and every human beings rights.”
“We may sometimes differ in how we express ourselves, yet this should not be interpreted as turning our backs on the universal declaration on human rights. On the contrary, we are instituting all of these reforms to be able to protect the rights of every single Filipino. Yes, rights of all Filipinos, if that is at all possible. But in cases where we have to choose between protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens and law enforcers versus the rights of drug lords and criminals, it is clear we will protect the former. Who wouldn’t? Wouldn’t you do the same?” the Secretary emphasized.
Concluding his statement, Secretary Cayetano referred to this year’s theme crafted by UNGA President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, saying that it provides hope and is worth fighting for the aspiration of making the United Nations relevant to all the peoples of the world.
“The Filipino people will remain to be persistent in our quest for peace, order, development and prosperity, and the quest for a safe and comfortable life for all Filipinos. We will continue to have faith, put actions to our faith and love our neighbors,” the Secretary ended.
This is the second consecutive year of Secretary Cayetano’s participation in the UN General Assembly that adopted the theme, “Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies.”

* * *