From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals – January 13, 2017


Good evening dear Thai citizens.

His Majesty King  Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun and all the members of the Royal Family have expressed their deepest concerns for the well-being of flood-afflicted people in the south. His Majesty the King has thus consented for His representatives to distribute relief packages and other necessities from the Thai Red Cross Society to all the victims.

His Majesty the King has also expressed His concerns over the difficulties in carrying out certain rescue operations to many of the inundated areas. The levels of difficulty to reach each area vary. In some cases, monetary donations sent to the victims cannot event be spent to buy goods at the moment. People can’t even cook due to power, water, and gas outages, thus adding to adverse conditions. The government is thus working around the clock and is sending cooked rice to the flooded areas.

The Privy Councilors, bestowed with His Majesty the King’s directives on alleviating the flooding situation and helping the victims, have met with me at Government House, and the government will heed His Majesty’s guidance to best help those affected.

The government has been on a heightened sense of alert in monitoring and alleviating the flood crisis. At present, flood situations in 12 southern provinces have been easing continuously since December last year. According to the Meteorological Department, we must continue to be on the lookout for future flooding as well.

Since the beginning of January, there has been heavy precipitation which has exacerbated the situation, thus prompting the government to upgrade the severity of the crisis from level 2 to level 3.

By declaring level 3, it allows national and regional mechanisms to be established so that every responsible agency can work in collaboration more productively to cater to the needs of the victims and immediately respond to the situation. We have, for instance:

1. The national disaster prevention and mitigation center at the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Interior Ministry, is responsible for monitoring the situation and harnessing workforces from other ministries and departments for the reinforcement of assistance operations for the flood-affected residents which number1,000,000 people, 370,000 families in 12 cities.

Currently, we have more than 4,000 officers, 671 carbon fiber boats and flat-bottomed boats, 142 trucks, 107 water thrusters, 200 water pumping machines, 16 power generators, 18 water transport vehicles, 12 water producing vehicles, 11 street lighting trucks, 3 bailey bridges, and 5 helicopters.

2. The regional disaster prevention and mitigation center in the southern province of Surat Thani offers assistance in the upper south, while the center in Songkhla provides assistance in the lower south. Both centers act as coordinators between local and central governments and have set up local offices in each province to monitor and tackle flood situations.

Their tasks are categorized based on the severity of the situation. There are 3 categories including

1) crisis areas,

2) vulnerable areas, and

3) post-flood areas.

This allows the government to understand the needs of each community and local agencies to provide appropriate assistance in all aspects. Apart from the victims who need water, food, clothes, sleeping kits, medical treatments, and house repair,

the government also has to look after damaged plantations, basic infrastructure and utilities such as telecommunications, businesses, government offices, historical ruins, and tourist attractions.

As for assistance measures, the Cabinet has agreed to various forms of support, similar to the assistance provided for the victims of the massive flooding in 2011.

For instance, the families of those who perished due to the floods will receive financial support of 50,000 baht, destroyed homes will be rebuilt, and damaged homes will be repaired.

These measures are meant to help affected people return to their normal lives as quickly as possible. We will also help to rehabilitate and restore farms and places destroyed by the floods.

We have also established a center under the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the PM’s Office to serve as a coordinator in collecting financial contributions from the public.

The proceeds will be disbursed to local governments, so that they can help the victims in the flood-hit south. Those who wish to make donations to the victims are encouraged to do so. Launched by the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the PM’s Office, the fund is called “The Fund for Victims of Natural Disasters.”

You can also make donations through the Royal Thai Navy, the Rubber Authority of Thailand, and MCOT. Details are now appearing on your screen.

Financial donations are tax deductible. All donors are asked keep their receipts and attach them to their tax forms or tax reduction requests. Donors are entitled to a tax break 1.5 times higher than the actual amount donated. For more information, please contact Hotline 1111, which is available twenty-four hours a day.

In addition, to care for those who have been affected by this flood, the government, through the Ministry of Finance, has allocated an additional 50 million baht to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, totaling its relief budget at 150 million baht, as well as an additional 50 million baht to each flood affected province to total 100 million baht per province.

This is because the affects from this flooding will continue for a while longer, and therefore local need to adequately procure equipment or special transportation means to carry out ongoing relief efforts. This amount will also go towards providing necessities to residents who have been affected by flash floods and mudslides.

I would like to thank all of you, including the private sector who have been empathetic and have contributed in donations of necessities for the flood affected victims. I would also like to extend my support and encouragement to the civil servants, police officers, military personnel, and volunteers who have exhibited great dedication and sacrifice under the notion that time is of the essence when extending help to those who are in need now.

I would also like to urge that you exercise carefulness when conducting your duties and hope that everyone remains safe. I ask residents in the flooded areas to closely follow the latest news updates and announcements, as well as any instructions given by safety officials.

This is to ensure safety in lives and property of all residents, as well as to help officials conduct their duties in an efficient manner. I also ask everyone to take care of their family members, particularly children, the elderly, and the disabled. The government will continue to rigorously monitor the situation and conduct its duties to the best of his abilities.

In order to tackle the issue of flooding in a sustainable manner, I have tasked the Ministry of Transport to collect data, as a case study for each region, especially for considerations in constructing new roads. This is in order to prevent any blockages of irrigation canals and to ensure that we construct bridges that allow water to quickly flow down from the hills areas to the coast.

New roads may need to be constructed along with bridges or tunnels to allow for efficient irrigation into the sea. This is in order to prevent future floods in a sustainable manner.

Today, many provinces have expanded their urban areas due to growth in populations. This has resulted in some expansions that are not in accordance to city planning or building guidelines, which may have thus hampered the city’s ability to effectively drain rainfall to the sea or natural water sources. This has resulted in frequent inundation, as is also the case in Bangkok.

Dear Thai citizens, regardless of the challenges we face, the country must continue to move forward and we should always be at each other’s side for encouragement and support. This means that everyone should conduct their duties to the best of their abilities while avoiding creating any unnecessary burdens on each other.

As for amendments to the interim constitution, based on the meeting between the Cabinet and the NCPO, the government has consulted with the NLA on this matter, and they have been deemed possible to go ahead with, without affecting the current Roadmap. I, therefore, ask that everyone have confidence and trust in our journey towards a complete democracy.

Tomorrow will be the second Saturday of January, which marks National Children’s Day. In addition, January 16 of every year is National Teacher’s Day. Both play an important role in shaping the nation’s future. I therefore would like to present the nation with this year’s teacher’s day motto: “The nation is developed by good teachers who exemplify excellence, we are grateful for the kindness of our teachers”

This motto is to remind all teachers of their importance in shaping the nation, its people, and its future. Therefore teachers bear the honorable and heavy burden of serving as role models for society. Not only must you be role models in your words and actions, you must also demonstrate your pursuit of continuous self-development in order to prosper in an ever-changing world.

Because of a teacher’s role as a “blueprint” for our nation, I ask that parents and students hold in high regard, the importance of the teacher to the provide knowledge and a sense of purpose for people to become good citizens.  Being a teacher is not limited to the school or class room.

I think that teachers nowadays can’t be merely be regarded as “ferries” that only transport their students to the other side of the bank. Teachers today serve as a continuous bridge, similar to that of the governments and NCPOs. Teachers must be a connecting point between their communities and academia in order to empower society with knowledge, as has been mentioned in the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy.

In addition, teachers should connect with various sectors and local administrators. Parents and students, as members of their communities, can also help their communities develop according to the Pracharat model, in order to bring about prosperity and raise the quality of living in our societies as we enter the Thailand 4.0 economy. This new economy should be based on a society of learning that incorporates knowledge, technology, and innovation into daily lives and occupations.

This year’s children’s day motto will be “Thai children, dedicated to education, taking the nation towards stability.”  This is because I would like the Thai children to see the importance of education, as the success stories around us have all been a byproduct of education. Regardless of your social or economic standing, education will lead to success.

This means that our society and social conscience will be uplifted when all Thai people receive access to education. Our societal problems will thus lesson as we base our decisions on educated reasoning.

Economic problems will lessen as people will have more knowledge and expertise to rely themselves. Environmental concerns will lessen when the public understands more the long term consequences of environmental degradation and begin to protect our natural resources, as His Majesty King Rama IX taught us how to live in harmony with nature by using it to our benefit rather than destroying it. With fewer problems as such, our nation will have more stability.

This in turn will inspire confidence from foreign countries, which will then encourage more tourism as they will understand that they are safe when traveling across Thailand. Investment in the 10 special economic zones and the 18 clusters across the western regions that make up a supply chain economy will flourish and strengthen as we work together. Wealth will be distributed amongst all parties and prosperity will reach the rural areas reducing disparity between those areas and the urban ones.

These things I have mentioned go hand in hand with the motto “education and stability”. If children don’t understand something, adults should not hesitate to give an explanation. This is a starting point of our vision of a stable, sustainable, prosperous future and is in line with the King’s Philosophy for overcoming poverty by developing people through education.

I have another example of the King’s Philosophy: the book “The Mind of a City, a Capital of the World” was written by Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand in 1970 and was later made into a cartoon for Children’s Day in 2017.

The book came about as His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was much very interested in dharma and therefore requested that the Supreme Patriarch write a book of Buddhist teachings that would not be too difficult for a child to understand. The book would contain the principles of dharma that would be easy to understand and aid in the raising of children.

Therefore, the Supreme Patriarch’s book became just that: a set of dharma teachings written simply and beautifully. Anyone could read and enjoy it. A number of techniques were used to help explain the more complicated principles. For example, the concept of the mind which is a rather difficult one was compared to that of the city in which we live. This was how the book got its title.

I think that this is something that Thailand needs, as it entails the Thai people having a higher awareness of a social conscience. This is why I have promoted the creation of a cartoon/animation in collaboration with the National Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA), the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, religious organizations, the Ministry of Culture, and various public and private organizations. I also ask that the media help pass on this project to the public.

The cartoon will be shown during Children’s Day this year at Government House. The media in both the public and private sectors can contact us to get involved through any avenue, free of charge. The details are now on your screen.

(Software Industry Promotion Agency (Public Organization)or Wat Bavornivetviharn can be reached at 02-1417158/02-1417157.)

Dear citizens, I would like to invite any of you who are interested to bring your children or young relatives to take part in our annual Children’s Day celebrations at Government House on Saturday, January 14th from 8:00am to 3:00pm. The event will take place under the theme: “The Land of Happiness Through the King’s Philosophy.” There will be various activities for children like last year.

In addition to children getting the opportunity to sit in the Prime Minister’s chair, one of the highlights of the event, I hope that everyone will have a lot of fun and get to learn some new things through the activities we have planned. In particular, the King’s Philosophy of His Majesty King Rama IX will be on display through the Phra Mahachanok animation as well as through our new animation: “The Subtle City of the Mind.” There will also be many other locations around Bangkok where you can take part in the festivities.

There will also be models of mangrove forests, Chaipattana Aerators, His Majesty’s working principle, a children’s pantomime, muay thai, various booths, and opportunities for children to visit the Khoofah building, the Prime Minister’s Cabinet room, honourary motorcade vehicles, music and art performances, a news desk, robotic operations, a small football field, a recycled playground, stories in the park, art lessons, calligraphy competitions, and free health checkups and haircuts. In addition, there will also be gift giveaways, and plenty of food and drinks.

I would like to invite all the parents to bring their children out for this event at any of our locations, though the one at Government House will be the biggest. I look forward to meeting you all there tomorrow. Please be extra careful as this is a big event with many people. Please provide your children with a name tag that includes their parents’ names, phone numbers, and address.

Lastly, on January 15th, the government will be organizing the event: “Pracharat to Help the South” in order to provide aid to victims of the flooding situation. I would like to invite everyone to get involved and show their support. If we approach this in accordance with the Pracharat model, we can help our fellow citizens in their time of need.

This event will be televised across every channel from 6:00 pm – 6:20 pm. After that, the full broadcast will continue on NBT until approximately 8:00 pm.

Thank you very much. I wish everyone a very happy Children’s Day weekend and hope that it brings benefit to our children, our families, and the Thai nation. I would also like to extend my encouragement and support and my care to all those affected by flooding in the south.

Sawasdee Krub.