From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals – December 9, 2016



Good evening, dear Thai citizens.

Recently, people residing in the southern region have been battling severe flooding. His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodintharathepayavarangkun has expressed His concerns about the well-being of those affected, and has thus graciously provided assistance packages to all flood victims, which has deeply uplifted the spirits of the people in the area.

The government has been monitoring the situation around the clock. Although natural disasters are uncontrollable, the impact can be reduced by preparation and effective communications. People living in disaster-prone areas should thus prepare themselves and follow advice and instructions. We will be able to minimize the impacts if we are well-prepared.

For instance, we should have emergency plans and equipment in place 24 hours a day and lend a hand to those in need as soon as disasters strike. All administrative and disaster mitigation units including local leaders, police, and soldiers must act quickly and do their duties to the best of their abilities, in helping afflicted residents return to their normal lives as soon as possible. Rehabilitation and damage assessment must also be ready at all times.

At this moment, I’d like to ask people in risk-prone areas to closely follow all warnings and forecasts, as well as take precautions and heed advice. Boat operators should be extra cautious while small boats should remain ashore. All victims can reach for help at disaster prevention and mitigation centers, and disaster prevention and mitigation offices in their respective areas or call the 24-hour hotline 1784.

In addressing disaster related issues, I ask the public to understand that the government will take the interests and benefit of all into consideration and here, public cooperation with the government is essential in order to find sustainable solutions.

I have instructed related agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Interior to formulate a plan that addresses the issue sustainably, in accordance with HM King Rama IX’s teachings, and to incorporate His teachings into the government’s long-term water management plan.

Dear citizens, if we take a look at what has happened in the past, we can see that most of our main problems were caused by humans, by our own actions. Thus, without proper education for the Thai people, such problems will likely recur. In addition, if education inequality continues to exist, if people do not have access to quality education, economic problems may arise.

Without education, people will not be able to support themselves. These two problems when combined can cause even more complex political issues that can come to affect our national security and stability, which in the end, could also come to affect our foreign relations in all areas, whether it is politics, economics, social affairs, and the environment.

The King’s Philosophy of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej emphasizes the importance of human development through education. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej had always placed emphasis on education, both inside and outside the classroom, so that education was accessible to all, whether it be for the underprivileged, people in rural areas, hill tribe villagers, or those who live in very remote border provinces.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej had provided His personal funds to build border area schools for children and local residents. The schools were later named “Chao Pho Luang Upatham”. They are situated in remote rural parts of the country and are often in places with a prevailing political mindset. His Majesty had also built the Rajpracha Samasai School for children of leprosy patients and many other schools for children, hoping to reduce social disparities and improve the quality of life of the Thai people.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodintharathepayavarangkun has been following in the footsteps of his Royal Father, by implementing the King’s Philosophy to improve the lives of the Thai people. His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodintharathepayavarangkun understands well that children in rural provinces often lack access to quality education. As a result, His Majesty has graciously undertaken 6 rural schools to be under Royal patronage.

These schools are Mattayompatcharakitiyapha schools in Nakhon Phanom, Kamphaeng Phet, and Surat Thani, and Matthayom Siri Wan Wali schools in Udon Thani, Songkhla, and Chachoensao. His Majesty has travelled there to graciously preside over the school’s foundation stone-laying ceremonies, and has also bestowed educational equipment such as computers, televisions etc.

His Majesty has also provided advice for the schools and has supported several professional skills programmes, so that students can later be employed and thereby support themselves and their own families. Not only does His Majesty visit these schools in person and follows up their progress, He has also consented for his 2 Royal Daughters to take part in activities at these schools on a regular basis.

As for the government, along with applying the King’s Philosophy to policy implementation, there has also been our efforts in education reform for the 21st century,

with a focus on 1) improving analytical skills, imagination, and creativity, 2) encouraging students to learn more from general knowledge for better decision making in life and career, 3) motivating students to be inquisitive and with the ability to foresee future trends through the us statistical data, and 4) teaching the skills necessary for future careers. Here are the measures we have laid out.

The first one is to reduce classroom hours and increase practical learning methods, by teaching students to learn based on reasoning. Educational institutions should thus manage classroom schedules in line with this policy. Schools shall reduce 1,000-1,200 classroom hours per year and have students dedicate more time on learning through activities in a way that is most benefiting for the students.

The second measure is to increase hours of English learning. Prathom Suksa 1-3 students must have their English learning hours increased from 40 hours to 200 hours a year. The last measure is to create an application called “Echo English” to improve the English ability of learners. The development of this digital application is based on The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

In addition, we have launched an information technology network project titled “UniNet” currently serving up to more than 10,000 schools around the country. We also have to promote distance learning by offering tutoring sessions and intensive learning. Classes can be taken with the help of television broadcasting through ETV, the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT) and other related stations nationwide. The number of audiences is expected to be higher than 2.4 million people.

Next, local non-formal education offices will be the main agency in enhancing the effort to establish a lifelong learning system in local communities, in order to improve the well-being of the disabled, the underprivileged, the elderly, women, and children. Four centers will be established, and they are:

1) The Sufficiency Economy Philosophy and New Agricultural Theory learning center, 2) the Democracy Promotion and Development learning center, 3) The Digital Community learning center, and 4) The Lifelong learning center.

The King’s Philosophy in the area of education, has been adopted to be taught at all levels of society, starting with the smallest group which is “family” and “village.” The government and education-related agencies must make sure that the country will have quality human resources who will drive the country’s growth and development in the future.

Overall, the government has been applying the King’s Philosophy to its operations as follows.

– Setting up a development target with people as its center, meaning people must be well and have satisfaction in life, in accordance with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,

– Supporting and promoting sustainable development by maintaining the balance between society, economy, and the environment,

– Encouraging problem-solving through peaceful means and green development,

– Putting forth reform in all aspects with active participation from all sectors,

– Formulating plans and projects that are tangible and yield concrete results, and which support our reform goals. There will also be assessment and evaluation throughout the implementation process,

– Promoting the country’s and the people’s resilience through the development of democratic process for Thailand,

– Laying the foundations for a country where citizens are ethical and preserve Thailand’s uniqueness and our culture,

– Creating amity, unity, an reconciliation in society by maintaining justice, righteousness, and the rule of law equally,

– Creating hope and faith on the basis of what is truly achievable and achieving real progress in order to create a better future,

– Creating a country that has an egalitarian society void of severe social disparities, by supporting development and reforming society and the economy from the grassroots level,

– Making Thailand a lawful country with policy implementation based on political and economic principles,

– Continuously raising the quality of life for the people in order to enhance the country’s potential and competitiveness and elevate the country’s status on the world stage,

– Decisively monitor, prevent, and suppress corruption by creating an integrated mechanism that can tackle corruption in a sustainable manner,

– Modernizing and enhancing the potential of the country’s bureaucracy, executive branch, judiciary, military, and police in order to create confidence among the Thai people,

– Fostering friendly relationships with all groups in all regions by enhancing cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral level in order to enhance global stability,

– Placing importance on our neighboring CLMV countries and ASEAN in cooperating for development, without leaving any one behind, and moving forward together by realising the potential of each country,

– Enhancing relations to create “productive value chains” by building trust amongst each other,

– and Expanding cooperation with developing countries and connecting with developed countries in the form of strategic partnerships.

Dear Thai citizens, there are some matters that I would like to clarify at this time. Various infrastructure programs, such as roads, railways, electric trains and highways affect all sectors, whether it be the government, civil servants, the general public, and the private sector. Certain projects may thus cut through or bypass government or private property, depending on design, survey analysis, and budget efficiency.

To those who may lose some of their property due to expropriation – if you only think about your own personal interests, without considering the benefits these projects have for the general public, such as traffic alleviation, and  if you are satisfied with how things have been and are adverse to changes – these issues cannot be solved if no action is taken. This government is sympathetic to the losses incurred from expropriation. But I ask that you keep in mind how these projects will benefit the country and its people as a whole, thanks to your sacrifices at this time.

For example, addressing traffic congestion in Bangkok and other major cities may require taking down bridges and improving on roads to make way for electric trains so that people are given a choice apart from having to use their personal vehicles. These programs will make commutes more convenient and reduce travel costs, while vehicles on the road will be reduced.

There is no other alternative to this measure. It is regretful that some people continue to sow dissent through false information in social media. This does not benefit anyone and also damages our spirit of cooperation in nation building.

Therefore, diverging opinions requires having dialogue to reach a solution. It may not be a solution that pleases all, but it should be the best solution for most. Because when something benefits the majority, it will soon come to benefit the rest.

Another matter is that we must all accept that in our efforts to address any complex issue, we will be confronted with many obstacles in the beginning before we can reach a better position in the future. This is better than letting problems fester for generations like they usually have.

An important example of a complicated issue that requires attention is our water management policy, which incorporates finding new water sources, and creating a water distribution and irrigation system, as well as dams.

Certain areas may resist our new water management policies, but at the same time they want to be relieved from the issue of flooding. Some areas may resist the construction of power plants or electricity polls, but at the same time, they want electricity. We must learn to make way for programs that will benefit the majority, which will eventually benefit the rest as well.

This government has sought to create understanding and has provided compensation for expropriation at fair prices. If the price is too high, the project will be over budget. If the price is too low, people will be unjustly compensated. We must work together to find an agreeable “fair price”.

As for the registration of low-income citizens making less than 100,000 baht per year, there are some who are not trying to understand this programme, and have been using this point to enhance social divisiveness. I affirm that this government works for all the people in Thailand, and is tasked with caring for the well-being of all who live in this country, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, age, or social and economic standing. We are not governing to remain popular among the voters.

Therefore under this program, this government aims to care for low-income earning citizens, having registered 8.3 million people, consisting of 2.9 million applicants in the agricultural sector and 5.4 non-agricultural applicants. Fifty-percent of applicants make no more than 30,000 baht per year and 65 percent are over 45 years of age. These statistics will be useful in designing long-term, sustainable assistance policies.

In the past, this administration has implemented various assistance measures for farmers, regardless of their income levels. These include short-term as well as long-term measures to create sustainability, such as emergency relief, reforming planting cycles, supporting “smart farmers”, and managing the sale of rice to prevent oversupply in the market.

It is now time to provide assistance measures to other sectors, as they too have been affected by current economic conditions, both internal and external, both directly and indirectly. There may some people who seek to create disorder or disarray in our society by highlighting why we don’t extend more help to farmers.

Please don’t forget that Thailand doesn’t have only famers. There are people in other occupations that earn a low wage. These people comprise a large demographic and are an important component of the country’s economy. Letting these people to live the way they have and without progress will not create stability.

We must, therefore, find appropriate and timely assistance measures for these people. Medium and long-term measures will follow with the creation of an “economic value chain” throughout various phases of production, enabling these people to enter the tax system due to increased wages.

With the help of appropriate assistance measures, these people will be empowered to enter the system, earn higher wages, and enter the tax system. We must have a resilient grassroots economy should we wish to grow strong in a sustainable manner.

For those who have registered for the assistance program but aren’t really making low ages, please don’t create unnecessary burdens or controversy. I ask that everyone be honest when they register, and that their community leaders certify their information as well.

Improving the national administration system, creating understanding within the people, and law enforcement are 3 things that are tied together. If everyone believes in the law, and trusts one another, and gives time for national development, we will be able to avoid many problems. However, as we address these problems, it is important to note that some things will not have immediate results. Problems will still exist but they will lessen in degree day by day.  So, I ask for your patience and cooperation.

In the case of the establishment of hotels or guest houses that have illegitimate extensions or construction practices, I have urged the authorities to apply the full extent of the law in order to achieve international standards as quickly as possible.

As for political issues, I would like to commend the many scrupulous politicians in this country. For those who will step up to lead this country in the future, you must begin building your trustworthiness now. Be transparent and free of doubt in matters of corruption. This will result in a politician with “clean hands and a clean will”, someone in very high demand to solve the problems of this nation, instead of someone who is only interested in using a budget which is paid for by the people, unfairly or for their own gain.

And yet, some have managed to place these burdens and the all responsibilities of the government on the civil servants, saying that they are “regular functions”, and things that people should already be responsible for and are governed by law. These duties are no less important than policy work, which the government must follow up on to ensure that there is maximum efficiency as we “put policy into practice”. So, we must be comprehensive in this regard as well as punish those officials who are corrupt and show favoritism. We must avoid disconnected governance, as that will allow too much autonomy to break protocol and thus a failure to meet the targets of the official plan.

If we do not supervise these issues, and are unable to solve these policy problems, if we simply direct other agencies rather than do things ourselves, we will not have success. Every government must take responsibility, both in regular functions and in policy formulation, because these are covered in the national budget. In both these issues, this government is doing all it can. If it didn’t there would be a separation of policy and function, which would increase the possibility of failure. Finally, we must have a system whereby civil servants do not take on all responsibility themselves. We must share the burden and address any regulatory shortcomings as a team.

Every day for the past two years, this government and the NCPO have tried to steer things in the right direction. We have done this by examining what roles and duties should appropriately fall upon civil servants, and how we could look after the people, and develop the country while protecting the environment. This is an example of a distribution of power at the judicial, legislative, and executive levels to bring peacefulness to the nation and encourage the country to move forward in all areas.

The government therefore, carries out the Royal Prerogative in the area of national administration, in accordance with the constitution. We manage national administration and the national budget under a democratic system, with His Majesty the King as the Head of State. From the past to the present and to the future, every government has the duty protect and maintain the sacrosanctness of the Royal Prerogative for the Thai people, as our Monarchs have always done.

As for the national economy, the government asks that everyone try to fully understand that we, the Thai people, have many different salaries and careers at both the individual and juristic person levels. This can depend on the size of establishment as well as the funding. At the working level, this means finding an honest job, whether that is one that requires skills, or just hard work and experience. However, some of these jobs just don’t offer a viable salary. However, if we don’t change, and develop ourselves towards jobs that require higher skill sets and knowledge, we will fall behind.

In the private sector, small enterprises should make progress in the field of knowledge, production, and development in order to stay competitive. Medium sized enterprises must also progress towards technology, machinery, and tools that will bring them into the forefront, through financing from both the government or from other sources. As for large enterprises, at the national and international levels, they should work hand in hand with the government to help the people using the mechanisms of the Pracharat model. They are an integral link in our economy and they can add value for our people.

SMEs must have more income and earn more profit. Their taxes will then be able to help the nation as they will be put towards development of welfare services, education, health and other important avenues.  Thailand still has a long way to go in the establishment of physical links whether they are by land, water or air. In addition, the government must continue to work towards improving our role in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), as well as focusing on the 10 economic development zones throughout the country. We must also look towards key infrastructure investments.

All this requires cooperation within both the public and private sectors. This will serve to reduce disparities in this country and will strengthen our economy. External influences will have less of an effect on our affairs because we’ll be able to rely on ourselves.

Therefore, we must ask ourselves how much we understand these issues. The public, the farmers, the freelance workers, the civil servants, the merchants and all the rest of us must consider what role they can play in our economic chain. We must all be strong links in our own right and strengthen this economy together.

We must continue to look for a comprehensive solution for both structural and investment aspects in order to raise the bar on development and knowledge. Currently, digital technology has progressed very rapidly. We must, therefore, keep up with the time. If we refuse to change our way of thinking and ways doing things, we will not be able to keep up with the rest of the world. We must keep up to date on technology and develop ourselves. We must keep pace with these changes and develop along with them.

If our income is not enough, if we continue to accumulate debt, and if we refuse to learn, we will experience hardships. If this is the case, the government will not have a budget to support the nation.  These are important things to think about as they are part of the King’s Philosophy. I ask that everyone help one another, and help this nation. The government is prepared to assist wherever it can. Let’s move forward through intelligent solutions, budget effective strategies, and sustainable strategies.

Dear citizens, I would all the people and especially our youth, to take on the King’s Philosophy, particularly in the area of ethics and morality. I would like to thank the Internal Security Operations Command that has recently worked with several institutions, to bring together children in Thailand from all religions and backgrounds to sing “Prarachanitarn” – a song that commemorates His Majesty King Rama IX and His Majesty King Rama X, who have been role models of virtuosity to the people of Thailand.

Unlike the stories of kings that we can usually find in novels, His Majesty walked with us and endured hardships alongside His people as He traveled throughout the nation to care for His subjects. We must foster this extraordinary lineage and nurture it into something beautiful for our children, as they will be the future of this country.

Another example of doing something for “our Father” is the “step for step” project where Mr. Atiwara Kongmalai (otherwise known as Toon Bodyslam) will lead a country wide charity run to raise donations for Bangsapan Hospital in Prachuab Khiri Khan province to provide it with much needed medical supplies. The run will begin in Bangkok and finish in Bangsapan in Prachuab province for a total distance of 400 kms. The race will go from Dec 1 – Dec 10. There may be some traffic so let’s be understanding and considerate.

In addition to being something for a greater cause, this is also beneficial for the body as well. This is why it is such a good example of what we can accomplish for society when we put our minds to it. It is a charitable act with low costs, promotes health and wellness and helps others in need. I wish all participants the very best in this endeavor.

Thank you. I hope everyone has a happy weekend. Sawasdee Krub.