Marcos is first PH President since PNoy to address UNGA in person

NEW YORK, USA — President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will be the first Philippine president to speak at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) since then President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III did so in 2010.

President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. (Manila Bulletin file photo) and the late President Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III (RTVM Screenshot)

Marcos will be addressing the 77th UNGA here on Tuesday, September 20. He will be the second speaker of the afternoon session at 3:15 p.m. (New York time), following Honduras.

President Marcos will also be the first leader of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to deliver a statement at the High-Level General Debate.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Marcos will discuss his administration's priorities, such as climate change, the rule of law, and food security.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said Marcos' speech at the UNGA will focus on the administration's priority objective, which is to atttain economic recovery.

"His intent for the administration is for economic recovery. Therefore, his activities are always pursuant to that. His speech will be in pursuit of that," she said Thursday, September 15.

Around 152 other heads of state and government will participate in the High-Level General Debate.

The theme of this year's General Debate is: "A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges." The UN said among these challenges are the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, humanitarian challenges of unprecedented nature, a tipping point in climate change, and threats to the global economy.

The late President Benigno Aquino III was the last Philippine president to address the UNGA in person. In his speech in 2010, Aquino noted that the problem of one country posed a problem to another, so solutions could not be developed in a vacuum.

"For humanity to progress, all nations must progress as one," he said.

Aquino likewise called for support for the countries most vulnerable to climate change in building climate-resilient communities, reconstruction, and disaster risk-reduction. He also asked major economies to significantly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

The former President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, delivered a speech at the UNGA virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Duterte received praise even from critics because he raised the Philippines' stand on the South China Sea issue.