KitoOnlus Blog

United Nations Day – The UN and the Philippines

On October 24 we celebrate the United Nations Day, to commemorate the United Nations Charter coming into force – 24 October 1945 – and therefore the UN official creation. It could be interesting on this day to underline the key points in the relationship between the international organization and the Philippines.

The interest of the Philippines in the UN is clear from the very beginning: the Philippines are among its 51 original members, the signatories Countries of the UN Charter. Moreover, the Country is also one of the founding members of the G-77 coalition, the intergovernmental organization created in 1964 with the purpose of promote collective economic interests.

The actual collaboration between the United Nations and the Philippines starts very early: at the end of the ’40s the UN starts to send help and assistance to the Philippines in order to sustain the Country in the post war recovery period. A support that persists today: the UN provides the Philippines with technical and financial assistance with an average of 1000 UN professionals working in the Country. On the other hand, many filipinos contribute as well to the activities of the organization, working within its organs and agencies and through peacekeeping missions. Among the most influent filipinos, we recall here Carlos P. Romulo, the first Asian President of the UN General Assembly, elected in 1949.

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©United Nations. Carlos Romulo signs the UN Charter, 26 June 1945.

The relationship between the UN and the Philippines deteriorates with the election of the current filipino President, Rodrigo Duterte: first, in 2016 the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime condemn the extrajudicial murders taking place in the Philippines and sustained by Duterte. Moreover, the President «reacts with anger to the proposal of Agnes Callemard, UN special rapporteur, asking him to be judged by international organisms for its support to the murders, demonstrated through the prizes given to police officers and common citizens killing trafficants and criminals» (translation from this article). In fact, Duterte threatens to make the Philippines leave the UN (a possibility subsequently denied by the filipino Minister of Foreign Affairs), by stating that «maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations. If you are that insulting, we should just leave. Take us out of your organization. You have done nothing anyway. Except to criticise». Is it the UN  actually such a useless organization? It seems quite the contrary indeed. As this article explains, the dispute between the UN and Duterte underlines the organization’s evolution, since it becomes evident that «the segretary general has the right to criticize a member state when it kills its citizens. This is not something the original UN was conceived for. When it was created in 1945, the II World War was ending and its main objective was that of avoiding similar conflicts in the future» (traslation from here). The recent relations between the United Nations and Philippines show therefore that «the United Nations are not over, on the contrary, they are working better than it is commonly recognized» (translation from here).

So, happy United Nations Day to all of you!

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