Nene Pimentel .
JUST days ago, the ABC News, a media outfit, reported that some independent countries in the Middle East and North Africa, were in dire need of economic aid from other nations to keep their peoples alive. And in our part of the world, in the Asean, more particularly, we cannot just ignore the problem of the Rohingyas, among other asylum seekers.
Hence, if some independent countries, themselves, need economic assistance from other States for their populations to survive, so would asylum seekers in other parts of the world need the assistance of the privileged sectors wherever they might seek to live.
And since the asylum seekers are also human beings, necessarily, they should be treated with compassion, not condescension; with respect, not repression, and with dignity, not disdain.
Such kind of treatment, however, is easier said than given.
But, the fundamental basis of the principle remains the same: the asylum seekers are people.
Hence, regardless of the sovereignty concerns of the States involved, the asylum seekers as human beings, I submit, are entitled to be provided with food, clothing, shelter, medical care, physical security, and even education for their children, among other things, in an immediately reasonable, feasible and libertarian manner.
And upon whom may the asylum seekers pin their hopes, at least, for some immediate response to their urgent survival requirements, if not on their own neighbors?
The suggestion, of course, requires more details to be worked out to enable the parties concerned to adequately respond to the numerous ramifications of the problems posed earlier.
One issue that may be of utmost concern to a lot of people these days is Climate Change and the causes and effects of natural and man-made calamities such as floods, mining-caused pollutions, and other disastermanagement issues.
Hence, people the world-over, I believe, would like to know the latest developments on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), that was adopted by the UN at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
Likewise, the world, I suggest, would be most eager to know how the Dec. 12, 2015 new global climate change compact or what is now known as the Paris Agreement would be implemented, to hasten “the lowering global warming to below 2 degrees centigrade.”
And happily, the issue of chlorofluorocarbon emissions that pollute many countries in the world today are also set for discussion by eminent authorities on the subject during this conference.
And rightly so because those pollutants respect no national boundaries and, undoubtedly, endanger the health and the wellbeing of human beings, in many parts of the world; people who may not even be aware of the deleterious existence of those airborne carriers of diseases.
The learned disputations will surely help enlighten people and governments to be better responsive to such matters which they might have simply ignored in the past.
Hence, without hesitation, I suggest that those topics are more news-worthy, than even the world shattering sports record established by the first woman swimmer, Gertrude Ederle, who successfully crossed in 1926 the 21 mile-English Channel separating England from France, or, the first ever achievement of two intrepid mountain climbers, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, who got to the top of Mr. Everest in 1953.
May I suggest that we keep in mind that people, by their very nature, are the most vital, essential and indispensable manifestations of life on this earth. And that it is people who may, at best, make this world a paradise for all to live in or at worst, a penal colony for the less privileged.
Hence, may I underscore that the ultimate objective of meetings of the kind we are engaged in is for us to try our level best to secure freedom, justice, peace and prosperity for human beings, in general, and to explore all possibilities that we are capable of doing to capacitate every human being to enjoy lifeblessed by a balanced ecology anywhere in the world, and regardless of his or her race, status, sex or age.
(Exerpts from the keynote address by Nene Pimentel at the opening session of the PSPA International Conference on Public Administration and Governance at the Luxe Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City, Nov. 11, 2018. The author is a former interior minister, senator and mayor of Cagayan de Oro.)