Thank you, Madam Vice-President. 

The Philippines thanks the Independent Expert and the Special Rapporteur for the presentation of their reports.

We welcome the thematic focus of the IE’s report on the human rights of older persons in the context of emergency settings. With the estimated population of older persons in our country, aged 60 years above at around 7.6 million or around 7.5% of our total population as of 2015, the Philippine government pays special attention to ensuring their welfare.

Our national law of 2009 on senior citizens provides for the maximization of their contribution to nation building, grant of benefits and special privileges, and measures whereby families and the communities they live with reaffirm the valued Filipino tradition of caring for the senior citizens.

We are pleased to share that our pending bill on the creation of a Department or Ministry of Disaster Resilience includes the participation of the elderly in the design of policies, plans and mechanisms, including those for early warning. The draft bill also states that during evacuation, priority assistance shall be given to the vulnerable groups and persons. Moreover, our senior citizens are very much involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of programs affecting them, this participation is institutionalized through the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs in all our cities and municipalities, headed by a senior citizen.

On the report of the Special Rapporteur, the Philippines notes the need for financing inclusive development priorities and for implementing effective economic and social reforms to ensure equitable growth distribution. The Philippines, with 10,000 priority programs and an estimated total investment of USD 207 billion, is heavily investing in infrastructure to spur regional and rural development and facilitate better access of local governments to social services.

With reference to promoting South-South or triangular cooperation as a platform for mutual learning, capacity-building, and sharing of resources toward better development policies and programs, we wish to inquire if such platform is being maximized and if we are meeting our expected level of activity, and if not, what are the obstacles and how can these be addressed?

The Philippines reassures the Independent Expert and the Special Rapporteur of its continued support and cooperation. Thank you, Madam Vice-President. END.