Duterte to speak at UN General Assembly debate on Sept. 21

For the second time since he took office in 2016, President Duterte is expected to address the United Nations (UN) and put forward the Philippines' stand on urgent issues such as coronavirus (COVID-19) response, and human rights concerns, among others.

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang File Photo)

According to a Malacañang statement on Sunday, September 19, the President will speak on the first day of the High-Level General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 21.

He is set to address the international community on Tuesday, September 21, within the 1600H-1800H window, New York time, or between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. of September 22, Manila time.

Malacañang said President Duterte will put forward the Philippines' interest on many issues of concern, including access to COVID-19 vaccines which he has been advocating since the start of the pandemic.

"President Duterte will advance Philippine positions on global issues of key concern, such as universal access to COVID-19 vaccines, climate change, human rights, including the situation of migrant workers and refugees, and international and regional security developments," the Palace said.

The United Nations General Assembly is the main deliberating organ of the UN where all the 193 Member States are represented.

The session’s theme this year is: "Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations."

The High-Level General Debate will be presided over by Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, and the incoming President of the 76th UNGA.

This year's session will follow a hybrid format of in-person and virtual attendance of delegates, in view of the evolving situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Duterte has been praised during his first address at the UN last year. Albeit virtually, Duterte raised the country's arbitral win on the West Philippine Sea and rejected any attempt to undermine the award.