Duterte to raise WPS and human rights issues in address at UNGA
PRESIDENT Duterte will raise the issue of the country’s arbitration award in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) as well as the government’s war on illegal drugs during the virtual general assembly of the United Nations (UN) for its 75th anniversary on Tuesday. In an online briefing, Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Chief of Presidential Protocol Robert Borje said on Monday Duterte will articulate these controversial issues in his speech. He said the Permanent Court of Arbitration decision in 2016, which nullified China’s nine-dash line claim and recognized the country’s exclusive economic zone in the WPS, will be contained in the President’s discussion of geopolitics in the Asia-pacific. Meanwhile, the issue of the government’s anti-drug campaign is part of Duterte’s discussion of justice and human rights. The European Parliament recently threatened to revoke its preferential trade treatment for Philippine exports unless it abides by international conventions on human rights. The President’s speech at the UNGA will also contain highlights of the country’s response to the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic; peace and security, including terrorism; sustainable development and climate change and reforms in the UN. “I would encourage everyone to watch the President and not just the President but all of the speakers who will be engaged in the High-level Debate and that begins tomorrow, 9 am New York time; but for the Philippines, that’s 9 pm,” Borje said.
THIS will be the first time the President will participate in a UN general assembly since he started his term in 2016. Borje said Duterte opted to join the UN general assembly this year because of its 75th anniversary and to address “intense and urgent” issues before an international forum. “The President recognizes that the Philippines cannot do it alone and the United Nations is the world’s biggest platform where one country can articulate a country’s principal position on many items,” Borje said. Duterte was picked as the 12th of the 196 speakers in the UN general assembly from September 22 to 29, 2020. Borje said the President was very fortunate to be given the “prime spot” since the UN makes use of a complex algorithm in determining the order of the speakers.
THE case regarding the Philippines and China on the South China Sea is heard at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague, the Netherlands, in July 2015. The tribunal ruled in a sweeping decision that China has no legal basis for claiming much of the South China Sea and had aggravated the seething regional dispute with its large-scale land reclamation and construction of artificial islands that destroyed coral reefs and the natural condition of the disputed areas. Clockwise from top left: Registrar and PCA Senior Legal Counsel Judith Levine; Judge Stanislaw Pawlak; Professor Alfred H. A. Soons; Judge Thomas A. Mensah (Presiding Arbitrator); Judge Jean-pierre Cot; Judge Rudiger Wolfrum; PCA Senior Legal Counsel Garth Schofield; former Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines Albert F. del Rosario; former Solicitor General Florin T. Hilbay, Counsel for the Philippines; Paul S. Reichler; Professor Philippe Sands; Professor Bernard H. Oxman; Professor Alan E. Boyle; Lawrence H. Martin.