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Pinoy elected to UN advisory body |


Pinoy elected to UN advisory body

THIS WEEK ON PEOPLEASIA - Babe Romualdez - The Philippine Star
Pinoy elected to UN advisory body
With (seated, from left) Deputy Chief of Mission Patrick Chuasoto, Consul General Renato Villa and Economic Minister Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga; (standing, from left) Vice Consul Mylhyn Acosta, Vice Consul and Public Diplomacy Officer Darell Artates, Consuls Shirley Flores and Katrina Borja-Martin with Ministers Rosanna Villamor-Voogel and Gunther Sales.

The recent election of Patrick Chuasoto — our Deputy Chief of Mission at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. — to the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) is a welcome development because every time the Philippines puts forward a candidate to any UN body, it adds stature to the country. The Philippine Embassy in Washington celebrated the milestone event through a simple “blowout” of Filipino food hosted by Patrick, whose three-year term starts in January 2020.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. and I were very pleased to support the candidacy of Patrick to the ACABQ, knowing his prior work as rapporteur and member of the UN Fifth Committee — known as the Budget Committee — representing countries in the Asia Pacific group.  The Fifth Committee is the main committee of the General Assembly that is responsible for the UN’s budget and other administrative matters.

While the Fifth Committee does not necessarily capture headlines like some other committees of the UN General Assembly, it is just as important because it handles the funds and other administrative workings of the UN system. Without this powerful committee, the UN cannot operate because just like in any organization, a group or team is needed to handle finance and provide logistics, which is what the Fifth Committee does.

The ACABQ is a specialized body with an equitable geographical distribution in the composition of its 16 members. Three of these members are from Asia, with Patrick being one of them. They function as experts who examine the budget submissions of the Secretary General, and submit reports on the accounts of the UN and other entities for which the Secretary General has administrative responsibility. They provide comments and recommendations, which are then sent to member-states, who in turn look at the Secretary General’s proposed budget and balance it with the recommendations of the ACABQ. More often than not, the conclusions and recommendations of the ACABQ form the basis of the draft resolutions and decisions recommended by the Fifth Committee.

A member of the American Mensa, Patrick is a career diplomat who served as special assistant to former Foreign  Affairs secretaries Albert del Rosario and Alberto Romulo. He was previously assigned to the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN, and was the Philippines’ Alternate Representative to the UN Security Council in 2004-2005. He is the third Filipino to become member of ACABQ.

Before assuming my post as Philippine Ambassador to Washington in November 2017, Patrick was holding the fort, so to speak, since we did not have an ambassador for more than a year. His efforts to constructively engage with US stakeholders during that time  helped keep bilateral relations between the US and the Philippines on an even keel.


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