Duterte to raise WPS and hu­man rights is­sues in ad­dress at UNGA

BusinessMirror - - News - By Sa­muel P. Me­de­nilla

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.

First time

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.

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