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GMA leads ‘Stand Up’ campaign vs poverty

- Paolo Romero () - October 17, 2006 - 12:00am
President Arroyo led yesterday the launching of the Philippine component of the United Nation’s Millennium Campaign to promote global awareness to eradicate extreme poverty and attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015.

Mrs. Arroyo read the pledge of the UN Millennium Campaign titled "Tumayo Tayo (Stand Up)" after the flag-raising ceremonies at the Kalayaan Hall grounds at Malacañang.

"We stand here proudly as members of the generation that intends to defeat extreme poverty," the President said.

"We cannot remain seated when a child born in a poor country today will die 30 years earlier than a child born in a wealthy one, when tens of thousands of people die unnecessarily each day," she said.

"And we stand up because we are asking not for charity but justice. We know, that in our names, world leaders have made mighty promises to bring this to an end, they are called the MDGs," the President said.

Mrs. Arroyo was joined by UN Resident Coordinator and Representative to Philippines Nileema Noble, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Presidential Management Staff chief Arthur Yap and members of the diplomatic corps.

"To the leaders of the wealthy countries, be great, fight to keep your promises, debt cancellation, more and better aid, and trade rules that help fight poverty, you know what needs to be done, do it," she said.

The Philippines aims to have at least one million Filipinos standing up to raise awareness on the MDG campaign.

"We wish to set a record today of the number of people standing up to demand action on poverty, but the record we will want to break is the world’s record of breaking promises and just ignoring the poor. We don’t want record numbers of people dying of poverty every year for the rest of our lives," Mrs. Arroyo said.

The MDGs are: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS; malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability, and develop global partnerships for development.

Noble said the flag-raising ceremony "celebrated the ideals that the Philippine flag stands for."

"It (campaign) is about our collective pledge as duty bearers to deliver on the MDGs wherein each man, woman or child is able to lead a long productive life," Noble said.

"A life full of opportunities and all possibilities. It’s about all of us as citizens of the world holding ourselves accountable to deliver on the Millennium promise: a world free of want, a life free from fear and with a freedom to live with dignity," she said.

The 45-minute ceremony began with the singing of the national anthem led by the Cercado sisters and Faith Cuneta, winners of the Junior and Pop Music Senior Division Music Competition. The "Panata sa Watawat" (Pledge to the Flag) was led by sectoral representatives of the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

This was followed by a cantata to Fight Poverty composed by Leo Quinitio which was sung by the St. Paul University Choir with a dance interpretation by members of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization Artists for Peace.

ARTHUR YAP EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA FAITH CUNETA FIGHT POVERTY JUNIOR AND POP MUSIC SENIOR DIVISION MUSIC COMPETITION KALAYAAN HALL LEO QUINITIO MILLENNIUM CAMPAIGN MRS. ARROYO POVERTY
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