Message of UNDP Country Director, Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka

Sep 7, 2013

Legislative Advocacy Skills Development  Seminar Workshop, Holiday Inn Clark, Angeles City, Pampanga

Commission on Human Rights Chair Etta Rosales;
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.;
Presidential Legislative Adviser Manuel Mamba;
Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan;
Officers, colleagues and partners from the Commission on Human Rights, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office,
Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council;
Legislative Liaison Officers from various national government agencies;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen;

Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat!

The protection of human rights is an absolute prerequisite of human development. And human development is a right in itself, and must be granted to each and every individual if government is to be deemed democratic, and if society is to be considered free.

Let me also take this opportunity to remind us that human rights problems persist in our communities, and that there are considerable efforts needed to make human rights a fact of life, a reality for all. This is especially so when one looks at the “right to freedom from want” and similarly the “right to development”.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority, at least 5.2 million households continue to live in poverty and chronic hunger. Although the Philippine MDGs Progress Report reveal that significant progress has been made in halving the proportion of people who live below the poverty line, the gains in reducing extreme poverty have been accompanied by rising inequality, wherein  benefits of growth have not been equally shared. The deprivation that characterizes the daily lives of our fellow citizens will most certainly compromise our shared future.

Poverty, characterized by such factors as unequal access to resources, discrimination, as well as social and cultural stigmatization, is both a cause and a product of human rights violations, and it affects all human rights. Low incomes can prevent individuals from having access to education–an economic and social right–and this consequently hampers their participation in public life and development processes–a civil and political right–and their ability to influence the policies that affect them.

Over the past years, the promotion and protection of human rights and the application of a human rights-based approach to development programming and policy formulation have gained prominence in the work of the not only the Commission on Human Rights but also the NEDA and the office of the President through the relentless efforts of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office.

This is largely due to the ongoing efforts of the Aquino administration, who has reiterated his call on all agencies of the government system to mainstream human rights into their various activities, and he has consistently emphasized the promotion and protection of human rights as the bedrock requirement for the realization of inclusive growth.

This commitment, to be a reality, need active citizens who, as claimholders, will participate in governance processes to demand and exercise their human rights. At the same time, the government needs to fulfill its mandate as duty-bearers to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights.

UNDP strives to support the country to realize these ideals by working closely with the CHR, NEDA and PLLO to
raise the capacities of civil servants, stakeholders and government institutions to fulfill their human rights obligations to each and every Filipino, and in doing so, secure the Filipino’s right to development.

I challenge everyone present here this afternoon to help promote and support this valuable link between human rights and the achievement of inclusive growth.  Our aim is to transform and cultivate a spirit of hope and commitment in mainstreaming human rights in all aspects of society and development.

In closing, let me acknowledge the cooperative efforts of CHR, PLLO, NEDA, LEDAC, the national government agencies and many others who worked hard to make this workshop a reality. I hope that this training workshop will inspire you, as public servants, to contribute in shaping a new generation of human rights activists who will take action to the full realization of human rights as a way to inclusive growth and sustainable development in the Philippines.

salute you all for your hard work and continuing commitment.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat!

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