His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
During the 3rd ASEAN-UN Summit
[October 29, 2010; Hanoi, Vietnam]
[Please check against delivery]
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung,
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon,
My colleagues in ASEAN,
Excellencies and distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be here at the 3rd ASEAN-UN Summit and continue our exchange of views on the important issues we discussed at the 65th UN General Assembly in New York last month.
Allow me first to welcome His Excellency Ban Ki Moon, for coming to Ha Noi to join us.
I also wish to thank our hosts, Viet Nam, for the excellent arrangements and their generous hospitality for our third Summit meeting.
The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals have served as a blueprint for progress for many countries, from eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, to promoting gender equality. Noble and ambitious in scope, they have inspired our government to commit to our peoples our best efforts at achieving them.
Based on the Fourth Progress Report on the Millennium Development Goals, the Philippines is faring well in the reduction of the mortality rate among children age 5 and below. This decrease in the death rate is due to our vigorous efforts to address serious health threats such as malaria and tuberculosis. Our health department is also confident that infant and neo-natal mortality reduction and maternal mortality reduction goals will be met by the Philippines by 2015 with the help of local governments, NGOs and international partners.
We have also been successful in expanding access to safe water and sanitation and providing equal education for girls. Under our Universal Health Care Agenda, my Government aims to provide universal access to reproductive health to meet the MDGs.
My administration will soon unveil our new Medium Term Development Plan for the period 2010 to 2016. The plan aims to ensure that national growth and progress will be shared with the poor and the vulnerable by providing every Filipino quality health, education and employment opportunities by balancing the commitment of resources to physical and social infrastructure, and by strengthening social safety nets, such as conditional cash transfers and access to health insurance.
The ultimate impact of attaining the MDGs is the general upliftment of the welfare and quality of life of our people. We all hold authority in order to serve our people: It is therefore imperative for us to provide our peoples with the necessary support in terms of human resource development programs in order for them to sustain a better quality of life.
Our human resource is our top resource in the Philippines. Known for their industry, professionalism and high adaptability, Filipinos have brought renown to our country in the service industry, particularly in the health, engineering, information and communications, and knowledge-based industries. With this in mind, I welcome and support the adoption of the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Human Resources and Skills Development for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth as it fosters technical cooperation and capacity building, promotes public-private sector cooperation, enhances the quality and skills of workers in the ASEAN, and promotes lifelong learning.
I wish to invite further collaboration between ASEAN and the UN agencies to consider this new document in developing cooperation programs in the field of human resource development.
However, all our efforts to achieve our Millennium Development Goals by 2015, will not prosper if we are unable to provide for our peoples a secure place to live in. A world at peace is necessary for our peoples to have the freedom to move about freely without fear of any harm or threat as they engage in productive socio-economic activities.
Security threats, be they man-made or nature-inflicted, must therefore be addressed. Political-security threats to our communities and peoples still persist in our world, from terrorist organizations, to natural calamities, all of which can take a toll on innocent human lives. ASEAN-U.N. cooperation can be mobilized towards this end, particularly in the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-UN Collaboration in Disaster Management.
We wish to highlight the U.N. as the key forum in consolidating efforts to promote global counter-terrorism cooperation. In this regard, we reaffirm the importance of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) unanimously adopted in September 2006. This serves as our principal instrument in fighting terrorism.
The safety of our sea lanes is an issue that has received international attention in recent years as a result of numerous attacks on commercial vessels plying international waters. Maritime security is close to the heart of the Philippines, as we must always ensure the physical welfare and security of the Filipino seafarers who comprise the majority of the world’s shipping crews. We reiterate our call for greater global cooperation in the fight against piracy in international waters, and we welcome the report of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon containing proposals that seek to address this issue.
The future of ASEAN-UN Cooperation is bright. Let us strive to sustain this at the highest level through our Summit meetings. Let our generation of leaders leave a legacy of a world at peace for the future generations of our peoples.
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