UN DEBUT. President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his debut speech before the United Nations General Assembly early Wednesday (Sept. 23, 2020). Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said Duterte delivered an “excellent” speech. (Screenshot)
MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday described as “excellent” the debut speech of President Rodrigo Duterte before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last Wednesday.
“The President’s speech in the UN General Assembly I thought was excellent and I think halos lahat ng Pilipino ay kinilala po na talagang napakagaling at napaka komprehensibo at malinaw ang naging talumpati ng ating Presidente (almost all Filipinos recognize that the President’s speech was good, comprehensive, and clear,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual Palace briefing.
Despite having a team of writers to compose his speech, Roque said Duterte himself selected which topics will be touched on.
“Ang gumawa po ng speech niyan ay marami…pero yung mga subject matter po na nabanggit ng Presidente pagdating sa international issues, si Presidente po mismo ang namili kung anong gusto niyang i-discuss (A lot of people helped write the speech…but the President himself selected the subject matters on international issues which he wanted to discuss),” he said.
Roque said Duterte would also heavily edit major speeches, such as his State-of-the-Nation Addresses (SONAs), during rehearsals.
“Habang nagre-rehearse po siya, talagang binabago niya yung speech kung ano yung gusto niyang sabihin (While rehearsing, he really changes what he wants to say),” he said.
He said Duterte is largely responsible for the contents of his speeches.
“Hindi naman po pupuwedeng sabihin sinulat yan ng iba para sa kanya dahil ang pagkakaalam ko po by the time he is done with the speech, matapos po niyang i-rehearse bagong-bago na po ang lumabalas so malaking input po din talaga diyan ay galing kay Presidente mismo,” he said.
Duterte’s maiden speech before the UNGA virtual high-level meeting lasted for roughly 20 minutes and was praised by current and former Cabinet members and government officials as well as critics.
He raised the 2016 arbitral decision against China’s extensive claim in the South China Sea before the UN for the first time since he assumed office more than four years ago.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio commended the President’s invocation of arbitral award, particularly his “strong stand” that the award is “beyond compromise”.
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario also welcomed the Duterte’s assertion of the arbitral victory and urged him to rally other countries to support it.
Other topics tackled in Duterte’s speech were the need for equal access to a vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), protection of migrant workers, and Sustainable Development Goals.
Climate change, human rights, terrorism, nuclear weapons, refugee crisis, peacekeeping missions, and commitment to multilateralism were also brought up. (PNA)