MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to participate in the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) for the first time on Sept. 22-26 at 9 p.m. (Philippine time) which will be held via videoconference.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Assistant for Foreign Affairs Robert Borje confirmed Duterte’s attendance as the 12th speaker during the UNGA’s annual general debate.
The UNGA’s annual general debate is when heads of state and government and other senior national representatives present their views on pressing world issues.
“President Rodrigo Duterte will participate at the high-level general debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly or UNGA,” Borje said.
He said Duterte may touch on a wide range of topics including the global response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and peace and security including terrorism and geopolitical developments in the Asia-Pacific.
Sustainable development and climate change; rule of law, justice, and human rights including the situation of migrant workers, refugees; and peacekeeping and UN reforms may also be tackled, he said.
Duterte may also address concerns between the US and China rivalry in the South China Sea and the Philippines’ arbitral win against China, he added.
“Indeed, the President will be able to address that,” he said, but noted that he could not “characterize” how strong Duterte’s statement will be.
Borje said Duterte may also address criticisms on his aggressive crackdown against illegal drugs.
“Yes, that would be part of the President’s speech. He will address issues on human rights and justice,” he said.
This year’s UNGA will not only mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations, but also the first time that the high-level general debate and other high-level meetings will be done virtually in view of restrictions posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Borje said.
The session’s theme is “The future we want, the United Nation we need: Reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism-confronting Covid-19 through effective multilateral action.” (PNA)