MANILA Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has rallied members of the United Nations to support government efforts to rid the Philippines of drug and criminality.
In his speech at the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York over the weekend, he reiterated the Philippines aspiration "to be free of drugs and safe from crime".
"Aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, our development plan points to the direction of achieving the aspirations of the Filipino people," he shared, listing the country's goals of getting its citizens out of poverty and securing their safety by stopping crime, especially drug dealing.
"I know, I know: drug dealing falls somewhere between race, religion, political belief and gender as something to be equally protected. Admittedly, the drug experience is a bit religious. So taking it down is a crime against humanity up there with the others," he said.
"But drugs is the reason my government was elected by a landslide; a mandate that has only grown to 80% because of unceasing criticism. In defending it, the public now own it," he added.
To drive his point, he also linked the problem of illegal drugs to peace and security, one of the triggers that sparked the bloody war in Marawi City.
"The fight to retake the city of Marawi, which left it looking like Swiss cheese, was triggered by an attempt to serve a warrant of arrest for drug trafficking on the leader of Islamic jihad," he narrated.
"Some would argue; we should have just let him get on with his business. Unfortunately, my President won't oblige. He wants to eliminate the drug trade," he added.
Despite criticisms, Locsin said what lies in the administration is "decency".
"How we fight, how we protect, how we defeat our enemies with arms when we are attacked with arms; with the truth when attacked with lies; always and ever all constitutions mandate it with only victory in mind; refusing anything less," he said.
"Compromise throws away the advantage gained in a fight for survival, giving the other side time and space to recover and rally. But always and ever the fight must be fought with a decent regard for the civilized opinion of mankind."
As he defended the country's aspirations, he also pointed out that "predictions are rife of the demise of multilateralism".
"One evidence proferred is the democratic election of strong governments that talk tough and brush aside UN demands well-meaning for the most part, about how governments should do their job kinder by standards more honored in the breach than the observance in the West," he said.
"Weak governments, unable to protect their people, appear desirable; because they make the case for multilateral intervention at the prompting of conscience of course but sometimes at the unilateral prompting of great powers or violent or civil non-state actors," he added.
Locsin stressed that a "strong government is better", as a government is created initially to get things done. And though the international body is far from dying, the top diplomat said it can only remain strong so long as its members make it.
"The growing electoral trend toward strong governments does not change its democratic character. This trend proves the UN has achieved one of its key goals for peace: the spread of democracy because they incline more to peace than war," he said.
"Some in the rest of the world may not like the electoral result; but the people back home are happy with their choice. It is theirs to make; and regret; but it is not the UN's to decide. The next election may change it more to one's likingor not. Still we are warned of states eroding multilateralism by each one asserting too much sovereignty, he noted. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency