Diplomatic Plea at the United Nations General Assembly
In a stirring appeal made at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Philippines, voiced through Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, acting on behalf of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., passionately implored member nations to unite in safeguarding the indispensable rules-based global order.
Manalo, with unwavering conviction, underscored the profound shared responsibility to preserve this vital framework. It is anchored in international law and guided by the enduring principles of equity and justice, a call to action resonating across borders.
A Pledge for Peace Amidst Disputes
The Philippines reaffirmed its commitment to peaceful dispute resolution in collaboration with other nations. Notably, Secretary Manalo addressed the ongoing issue with China concerning the West Philippine Sea. He asserted,
“This has always been our position with respect to the disputes in the West Philippine Sea, inasmuch as we are prepared to defend our sovereignty, sovereign rights, and territorial integrity.”
A Friend to All, Enemy to None
Quoting President Marcos Jr., Manalo reiterated the Philippines’ stance as
“a friend to all and enemy to none.”
He highlighted the nation’s constitutional commitment to renounce war as a tool of national policy, embracing principles of international law, peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.
Upholding International Agreements
Manalo, in a resolute manner, underscored the unwavering dedication of the Philippines to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Notably, he highlighted the nation’s recent signing of the Treaty on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, signifying its commitment to responsible stewardship of the high seas.
Furthermore, Manalo placed significant emphasis on the paramount importance of UNCLOS. In support of this assertion, he cited the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea, a historic moment that definitively settled maritime entitlements and historic rights in the region. This unequivocal stance solidifies the Philippines’ adherence to international law and maritime order.
Navigating Emerging Threats
Recognizing the peril posed by destructive and disruptive weapons, Secretary Manalo passionately called for the primacy of the rule of law in this critical matter. Furthermore, he strongly advocated for the responsible use of emerging technologies and emphatically stressed the pressing need for international cooperation.
This cooperation is essential to ensure that these innovative technologies are not weaponized or misused to the detriment of global security and stability.
Commitment to Sustainable Development
The Philippines pledged its support for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its long-term plans. Manalo emphasized that this commitment would open doors for cooperation, especially among middle-income countries, to advance South-South collaboration and global development goals.
Championing Human Rights and Addressing Climate Change
As a member of the UN Commission on Human Rights, the Philippines firmly promised to advocate for the rights of vulnerable groups. This includes women, children, indigenous peoples, migrants, persons with disabilities, refugees, and older persons. Manalo passionately stressed the paramount importance of fostering genuine, evidence-based, and depoliticized dialogue on human rights.
Turning to the critical issue of climate change, the Philippines went a step further by calling for even stronger multilateral cooperation. It emphatically urged industrialized countries to wholeheartedly fulfill their solemn obligations under both the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.
Additionally, Manalo expressed gratitude for efforts to bring state obligations related to climate change to the International Court of Justice.
A Call for Multilateral Unity
In conclusion, Secretary Manalo urged solidarity in fostering a multilateral architecture that upholds the rule of law and addresses the challenges of our era. He emphasized the importance of investing wisely in sound, inclusive, and forward-thinking multilateral institutions that adhere to high standards of governance, equity, inclusivity, transparency, and accountability. The Philippines vowed to support such institutions in their mission.