From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals – May 26, 2017

Good evening dear Thai citizens.

Following the explosions inside the Chalermprakiat Building at Phramongkutklao Hospital in Bangkok and in Sateng Nok Subdistrict of Yala, His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun has assigned His representatives to provide assistance to the injured and families of the victims, including civilians as well as government officials.

His Majesty’s benevolence has uplifted the spirits of the people, civil servants, soldiers, officers, and many others who are serving the country, and this has been essential to bringing normalcy back to our society.

If people have been keeping abreast of what is going on in Thailand and around the world, you will know that there have been several other violent attacks, with  the latest being in Manchester in England,  in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao of the Philippines, and in Jakarta of Indonesia.

As for these three incidents and other violent attacks around the world, Thailand sympathizes with families of the victims and is very saddened to learn of the tragedies and the damage that these attacks have brought upon the world community. Thailand has also condemned these attacks. These incidents, whether big or small, add impetus to every country and ally to cooperate more closely with each other in order to find a sustainable solution. Security problems, in al there forms, undermine economic and social development in every nation.

As for intelligence related matters, security agencies in Thailand have been working collaboratively with the “intelligence community,” with analysis and screening of information to understand the levels of reliability of each source. Most importantly, intelligence data must be accurate, up to date, and useful to taking action.

For instance, intelligence reports help in terms of the prevention of possible attacks in targeted areas. Security agencies then must have procedures for before, during, and after an incident. After an incident, officers launch an investigation to bring responsible parties to justice with solid evidence. The work between intelligence services, security agencies, and investigators must be compatible. They must carry out their tasks meticulously without external influences.

In addition, the public should be vigilant. There are those who still harbor ill intentions for our country. If everyone helps out, it will benefit the intelligence work and will lead to the arrests of responsible parties. The government and security units have a handful of information about violent networks, but we will need to verify the evidence while making sure that individual rights are not violated.  Information cannot be released immediately on every issue.

Given this, society should not assume that the government’s intelligence work is not effective because intelligence information is not always 100% accurate. We have been able to make use of intelligence reports and have prevented several incidents. Nevertheless, I hope you can still understand the complexity of the matter handled by officials. Perpetrators of violence often have different tactics and methods that are difficult to foresee. They sometimes hire a third party to do the job. Therefore, the public should be vigilant and give moral support to security officials who are working day and night. The more malicious people there are, the more our authorities have to work tirelessly. Meanwhile officers are constantly trying to bring peacefulness back to society and ensure safety for every fellow citizen. The public should give authorities their encouragement. I wish that every virtuous citizen has safety in their lives and property.

The National Council for Peace and Order came to administer the country 3 years ago amidst a time of instability in the country. This, along with the many instabilities that the world faces, has affected the lives of the Thai people, and along with ongoing problems of basic needs, has complicated several matters in administration, as opposed to a normal situation. Furthermore, the government has more responsibilities than past governments, because we have come in during conflict. As such the public has high expectations for us, particularly in 3 key areas, which are,

1) to resolve longstanding issues, 2) to bring successful reform in 11 aspects, and 3) to formulate a 20-year National Strategy for sustainable development of our nation, in line with the vision and to achieve “stability, prosperity, and sustainability.” The Sufficiency Economy Philosophy will be fundamental to the drafting of National Strategy and the national economic and social development plans. We have to look at the whole picture covering national security, the economy, justice, and so on, as they relate to each other.

We have also promoted the exchange knowledge between Thai citizens and the world community about King’s Philosophy and sustainable development, in line with the sustainable development goals 2030 (SDG 2030) of the United Nations. Despite many obstacles as mentioned before, the government and the NCPO have achieved several matters. I can assure you this.

For instance, the country’s GDP grew 0.1% in the first half of 2014 and then 2.8% in 2015. From then GDP has continued to expand under internal and external variables by 3.2% and 3.3% in 2016 and in the first quarter of this year respectively.

I reiterate that the most important thing is “trust, cooperation, and understanding” of the public and other sectors of society, and they are the true indicators of success. I believe that once our spirits and health is strong, we will develop an immune system that protects us from external vulnerabilities.

Given this, I think that the 3-year performance report of the government and the NCPO is not necessary at this moment, because the government has been informing the public of all developments. Although we have had several achievements, there have been opportunists who have distorted the truth. Their criticisms are not for constructive purposes. There criticisms were not factual or based on accurate information. They nitpick on little details or on faulty assumptions and until it affects the running of certain tasks. And sometimes when small tasks don’t run, larger tasks will not go as plan.

So I ask the people to closely follow the undertakings of ministries and governmental agencies, so that these attempts to distort the truth will not impact your confidence and trust in the government and the NCPO. The people have given us the chance to carry out what we said we were going to do.

As for the media, I ask that you review and adapt certain ways of doing things. At this time, we should not stick to the same old ways. Some have relied on using attractive headlines that are sensational, but may violate the ethics of journalism. People should be able to take away useful information from news reports. There are many good journalists too.

Thai people now have better education and are able to consume quality and reliable information. However, there are a few people and media who have not improved, enjoy conflicts, and don’t listen to others, or use information in a constructive manner. They do have the best interest of the public at heart. They sell news in a way that damages the nation and undermines national reconciliation and national stability, not to mention our economy. Some people do it intentionally but refused to be scrutinized. The important thing is that they refuse to be accountable for their actions. The government, on the other hand, has to deal with this irresponsible behavior as they cause delays in our efforts. So we have to help think of a way to prevent these things from happening.

My fellow citizens, during this transition and reform process, the country needs to be ‘true democracy,’ which is not only about a general election. We cannot have the administrative branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch in place but without the ability to keep check and balance on one another. Therefore, government is fostering this on our path of  sustainable development, which includes

1. sustainable development that might be based on Gross National Happiness (GNH) as opposed to Gross Domestic Product or GDP, which focuses mainly on economic development. The latter takes into account numbers, but neglects the aspect of quality such as the implementation of populist policies that transgress financial discipline, thus resulting in negative consequences. Meanwhile, the government has focused on improving the quality of life of the Thai people such as

1) ensuring public safety, stamping out illegal activities and influential figures, combating drug abuse and trafficking, and bringing orderliness to all aspects of society,

2) the reorganization of communities along Latphrao and Bang Sue canals, with the target of 7,000 families in 52 communities. So far 9 communities covering 700 households have been reorganized.

3) the rehabilitation of Din Daeng Community. Here, the progress has been 12% faster than the original timeline. The project will be completed and ready by June next year.

4) the promotion of savings through the National Savings Fund. This helps workers numbering 40 million people to save for retirement, 25 million of whom are informal and formal workers.

And 5) the restructuring of agriculture debts of 300 billion baht.

As for the reform of public health and the 30-baht health scheme, we will look into the causes behind the cases of substandard quality of health services faced by a number of people. We have to look at how the public health budget is spent for medical professionals and medical services for 70 million people who are entitled to free medical care.

The budget is also spent on the renovation of public hospitals and medical equipment. Then we have to allocate some money for the education of medical personnel and for medical management. In addition, we also spend the budget to buy medicines, both cheap and expensive, as prescribed by doctors based on the severity of the illnesses. These expenses are very high. We may not have enough now, while hospitals have limited income. The government also has limited income.

If too much money is spent on one thing, it will affect how much we have for other things. However, the government will not shy away from this responsibility. This is why we have to come up with a solution together on how the budget is dispersed. The government’s budget and the budget of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation will need to be re-evaluated. Otherwise, the problems will not go away.

Spending money on expensive medicines to cater to people enrolled in the 30-baht health scheme is also a problem. Some patients may not have access to expensive medicines because the budget for the program is very tight. The government has been trying to solve this problem by having governmental agencies produce medicines and vaccines, so that the prices are not too high and people will be able to afford them. We can no longer indefinitely buy these expensive medicines. I ask health committees to look into this undertaking. How can we reduce the cost? What medicines can we produce?

The government is approaching the problem from all angles. We have enrolled  civil servants and employees, produced medicines, assisted hospitals, controlled drug prices, just to name a few. We are tackling the issue with understanding and cooperation as opposed to passing judgements and criticisms. The latter is not a way to solve a problem. Every agency needs the money, so we need to help each other in  coming up with a sustainable solution.

The government, the Ministry of Public Health, , the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, Medical Council of Thailand, and medical professionals and personnel have to come together and think about how public health services can improve. This applies to all ministries.

The Ministry of Public Health has launched a community doctor program, offering medical assistance in various areas, so that patients do not have to travel to a hospital, as it would be a waste of time for the patients. It will take some time before the program is successfully introduced to every community. One medical unit is responsible for 30,000 people.
We are also producing low-cost herbal remedies for preliminary treatments. These herbal medicines will help alleviate some illnesses and prevent certain symptoms. One thing that will prevent us from having to see a doctor is to stay healthy. The government has a policy to encourage everyone to exercise, to reduce the risk of falling sick.

2. Restructuring our economy for resilience – we need to increase Thailand’s competitiveness. Most investment projects in place now are for the future of Thailand. The country has not seen such projects for quite some time, about a decade. These projects may be unappreciated by some, but they will bring benefits for the future. Short-term projects do not bring much return. We are investing in the future. The country will earn more income once these projects are finished. We will have more revenue to be able to take care of the people and develop the nation. For instance,

1. we are investing in basic infrastructure including high-speed rail, electric rail, dual rail, the expansion of ports, airports, and motorways. We have initiated 20 mega projects worth 1.38 trillion baht in 2016 and will launch 36 more projects worth 895 billion baht this year.

2. we have the 2-year internet installation plan in 40,000 villages, which was abandoned by private providers due to inadequate returns. The original plan was 30,000 villages. We need to promote a digital society with our economy.This investment is necessary, as we will not leave anyone behind,

3. as for SME development, the government launched 37 programs in 2016 and spent 5 billion baht to assist more than 200,000 SME operators. SMEs were not very resilient because they were not strong enough. They ran into financial problems, liquidity problems, and had difficulties with diversify risks, among many others. Many were not producing competitive products, had no innovative ideas nor access to loans, not to mention the lack of familiarity in terms of accounting, taxes, and professionalism.

At present, the government is recuperating the SME sector by establishing several funds worth tens of billions of baht, aimed at rejuvenating and expanding SME operators, allowing them the use the knowledge that I just mentioned, in addition to giving them an opportunity to enter the same value chain as large enterprises. These problems faced by SMEs were not addressed effectively before.  Therefore, this government has undertaken to revamp the entire system. This process will take time, as everyone has to adjust themselves to new methods.

I ask you not pre-judge our efforts. The government is doing the best it can to help SMEs. There are several other problems similar to this one, due to the lack of readiness and poor management. These problems exist in every aspect of society. In the past, no one really paid attention to detail or took the matter seriously. Previous governments spent money ineffectively and were not addressing the root causes of the problem. This conduct was not sustainable. Therefore, really solving the problem requires our continuous efforts because circumstances can change and variables will be different depending on internal and external factors.

As for the grassroots economy, there are skepticisms that the number of poor may have risen. I admit that money has been in less circulation because the earnings from grey businesses that used to circulate in grassroots communities have lessened as well, partly due to the government’s crackdown on illegal activities.
The police have been suppressing all sorts of criminality while criminal cases are being dealt with in the courts more, thus diminishing ‘grey money’ in the system. Many people benefited from this money so it has caused problems. But that was illegal money circulating through our communities, and it is decreasing as a result of strict law enforcement. This is why people think they are earning lower incomes while jobs are harder to find. Illegal jobs are no longer in these communities. You have to adjust yourselves and make an honest living. It may be difficult at first.

The economic development of our nation has to be in conjunction with a strategy and global circumstances. This government has emphasized cooperation in the form of strategic partnerships, to connect value chains and mobilize cooperation with every country so that we all become stronger together, such as

The Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT), which is a sub-regional program that supports ASEAN Community, by focusing on 3 aspects, which are;

1. infrastructure connectivity such as the construction of Ko Lok River Bridge and the 2nd Rantau Panjang- Sungai Kolok Bridge, the Hat Yai-Sadao and Satun-Perlis highways, dual rail system, port renovation in Krabi and Surat Thani, the setting up of product distribution center in Thung Song, and the Betong Airport project,

2. standardized related regulations such as the cross-border transportation agreement between Thailand and Malaysia, container, bus and van services, the facilitation of customs related services, immigration, and the inspection of crop and animal diseases,

3. the development of innovation in the form of “Thailand 4.0” approach including the improvement of information system and the promotion of green cities, to save the environment and our precious energy sources.

All this strategically connects 14 southern provinces with 8 Malaysian states, and 10 provinces on Sumatra Island of Indonesia. It also creates a value chain at the regional level and reaches out to the global market.

The connectivity between 64 countries in Asia including China, Africa, and Europe under the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) strategy will further promote collaboration in terms of transportation and infrastructure. The China-Thailand rail project is also one of the 10 projects under this strategy, connecting rail services with the China-Laos rail route, which is a very important route in the Pan-Asia Railway Network.

We also have the China-Europe high-speed rail project which transports cargo and persons to and from China and Europe. These projects will help to transport investments, human resources, technology, and skilled labor. I ask everyone to support these projects. Constantly opposing them will not move the country forward.
3. The government is working to increase its efficiency and productivity in many areas, such as the prevention of corruption by introducing a law that streamlines public services and a law pertaining to government procurement contracts.

2. The government has also been working on developing an electronic payment system for the public and the private sector by creating an electronic financial system or e-Payment, in addition to revising monetary and fiscal regulations such as the draft Payment System Act, and the draft Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act.

3. Next is about the improvement of the country’s competitiveness, such as the ease of doing business in Thailand and fewer restrictions on imports and exports through the acceleration of the National Single Window (NSW) to be realized in late 2018. This will ready Thailand for a higher volume of e-Business activities in the future.

It will also help business operators in terms of shortening the business registration process. A business license or import and export documents will be issuable after just one procedure. NSW also sends out useful information to related agencies in an instant.

In addition, the government has supported human personnel development through various programs such as the leadership program for new administrators, which focuses on developing people with knowledge, capabilities, and potential to be a part of the civil-service structure.

The government has also created incentives for working in government positions through attractive salaries and benefits that are worthy of the level of expertise. This is a new measure for creating a new generation of civil servants to match ongoing reforms in Thailand’s bureaucratic system, which will also be in line with a digital age, according to the Thailand 4.0 policy.

We have brought in people from the private sector and educational institutions, both from within the country and from abroad, to help with these reform measures due to our limited period. In things that we struggle with, we may need to bring in external help. We already have people in Thailand but there may be shortages in a certain sectors. It is necessary that these people pass on their knowledge and expertise to accelerate our development process. Once we are more self-sufficient in the future, we will not have to be dependent on others.

Please keep an open mind and realize that these measures are necessary to make good progress. We need to bring in lots of people to help us, but we must also have measures to ensure that we are not in a disadvantageous position. This administration realizes this and hopes that everyone understands this vision.

The Pracharat model is another approach that has enhanced the efficiency of the government sector. An example is the “Phi Phi Model,” an effort to revive the economy of Phi Phi Island from taking in only 1 million per year in revenue to generating billions of baht in revenue. This was done by enhancing the efficiency of the local administration by providing them with a vision and expertise, while ensuring transparency under a cooperative model, involving the private sector, the community, and environmentalists.

Today, Noppharatthara National Park is able to generate 20 percent of the total revenue generated by 149 other national parks across the country. If other agencies in other national parks are able to follow in the footsteps of this success story of Pracharat integration, the country would be able to move forward in many areas.

4. Supporting the judiciary and rule of law in society by emphasizing the relationship between the state, law enforcers, and the protection of the basic rights of citizens. Legislation must be clear, prudent, actionable, and lead to justice while also being able to eradicate conflict, both in form and content.

In the past three years, this administration has considered 401 pieces of legislation, 230 of which have been promulgated. These laws consist of new necessary pieces of legislation, revisions to outdated laws, and modifications to laws that were unfair. Notable issues include laws dealing with the economy, laws to comply with international agreements; laws to reduce disparities, laws on welfare and humanitarian aid, laws on social issues, and keeping the peace.

Public cooperation with the government on various policies is important, as is the respect and compliance of all laws and regulations. This would contribute towards effective law enforcement, which would address the country’s long-standing issues that have often been the result of misunderstandings, a lack of cooperation, or a result of seeking personal gain at the expense of others.

Presently, many programs and public policies are being implemented. If people understand the shame of their unethical behavior and fear the consequences of immorality, society will become a better place to live.

My fellow Thai citizens, there are many other issues that I would like us to consider. For example, please consider issues that some people have raised in the media, and whether they are based on sound reasoning, especially the comment that the government and the NCPO are limiting the people’s freedoms.

I will not mention cases involving the violation of our most revered institution. A normal person also has pertaining laws on the matter of defamation. It is important that we protect our most revered institution and the laws are there to do so as this institution is not able to protect itself in such cases. Our most revered institution has always been compassionate and has often issued reduced sentences or pardons.

Today, it is the responsibility of all Thais to comply with this law by refraining from sharing illegal content. It is against the law and causes problems.

Therefore, we must be able to differentiate and understand our scope of freedoms as it pertains to public gatherings, causing disturbances, and the spreading of content that defames the institution.

Not only is this breaking the law and infringing upon other people’s rights, it obstructs roads and public spaces without first obtaining permission in advance. There are laws in place that require people to stipulate the time, number, and reason for public gatherings.

The constitution does not simply mention that everyone has every freedom. There are other laws as well. Most of the time, the problems that we have faced are the result of people harboring political motives. Some have used the people’s distress for their own gain, often by to citing democracy, freedoms, and the constitution.

There are channels for people to express their opinions, such as the Dhamrongdharma hotline of 1567 or the complaint hotline of 1111. People are able to report signs of illegal activities, as well as submit suggestions and critiques. But please refrain from anything that damages the image and the credibility of your own country. Some people are inviting foreigners to criticize Thailand. It may be because they want to make problems worse. I want everyone to consider whether these actions are appropriate and what the real motives behind these people are.

Some lawyers, former governments, and politicians have pressured the government and the NCPO to do this and that. These numerous problems long existed and were not addressed by them, but these people are now and are pressuring us to solve them. Nevertheless, this administration has begun to solve these problems for the people. The next government can carry on with the efforts and let the people monitor the progress.

Therefore, we should change the way they think and develop themselves during this time. Let us do constructive things such as pointing out solutions to problems and sharing experiences. If you are able to provide me with appropriate measures to address problems, I welcome them. Submit your suggestions in a constructive matter. Show the people that you truly have a way to deal with problems, especially if you are elected in the future and become the government.

Another issue is cyber security. Please carefully consider the implications and the benefits and drawbacks. If people want more security, they must consider that with less freedom in this area. There are freedoms that should be acceptable to all. Every country must define the scope of its freedoms. These must be freedoms that do not infringe upon other people’s rights and are in accordance with the country’s laws. If everyone does what they please, no one would be able to do anything.

There will be chaos and people and organizations will not be safe from cyber-attacks. People must therefore be disciplined and comply with existing laws. Solutions begin at the individual level. Blaming the officials will not help if people fail to respect the law. People must first cooperate in order for effective law enforcement to take place.

As for my visit to Songkla Province on May 24 to monitor the implementation of the government’s policies, I would like to thank residents, civil servants, faculty and staff, researchers, and students of Prince of Songkla University, as well as representatives of the private sector for their warm welcome.

What is important is the cooperation rendered towards the government in helping policies reach their fruition, such as mobilizing the Thailand 4.0 agenda in the southern region, with technology, innovation, and creativity, which has resulted in many projects with value added at the commercial level, as well as a program to assist SMEs according to the Pracharat model.

This agenda aims to enhance the capabilities and competitiveness of SMEs to be a grassroots economic sector that leads to income generation and raises the standards of living for communities. This includes the university agricultural market, which may be different in nature from the government’s Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem or community markets, but share the same purposes of strengthening local communities.

I have also instructed many ministries to pay close attention to research findings and support their implementation and use for the Thai market. We should all support and promote this. There are many beneficial things particularly, in agriculture, digital technologies, and public health.

One observation that I have in the news coverage of my visits is that I would like the press to show not only me giving speeches or visiting exhibitions and giving out awards. The other day, the media showed me exercising with people in the market. This image depicted me visiting the people, but it did not report about what I was doing, how their markets were working and how I was admiring their success. In the end, this turned into a story of me merely having fun there.

I ask the media to consider presenting news that has useful information: by presenting the objective of the visit, the people involved the issues at hand, the solutions that were proposed, the benefits that people would receive, as well as my talks with people who have submitted their suggestions. These are the things that I did during the visit, but only showing me exercising and visiting the market is not providing useful information.

This is because I want the people to be informed, so that there is understanding and cooperation, which will enable communities to implement things by themselves. This is the kind of story that is useful.

I admit that the government’s public relations system is not perfect. This is because it is still a government organization. We cannot do this without the help of the rest of the media industry. Therefore, I hope that other media outlets also broadcast what the government has done. You are welcome to ask questions, especially on useful matters.

It will be useful if we can cooperate on this. The government cannot do everything on its own with regards to  disseminating information, despite having its own communication channels. In the end, we cannot force people to watch what we air, but we are also utilizing all the tools and mediums that we have at our disposal, such as spokespersons, outlets by the Electronic Government Agency, or radio stations. These are all components that work to amplify the government’s good intentions to the public.

So far, there have been obstacles in enforcing regulations on budgets and state administration. We cannot just go ahead and the laws do not allow it. This administration and the NCPO is finding ways to handle these challenges and will support small information outlets by connecting them with the government’s overall public relations network in order for people to gain adequate access to information.

My fellow Thai citizens, it is a matter of national pride that, on May 19, that Thai students were able to achieve a significant award at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, in the United States. Over 1800 young scientists from 77 countries participated in competitions at the fair. Students from Thailand were able to achive three awards,

1) In animal science, the “Foam Decomposition Project Using Beetle Larva” enabled a biodegrading process that did not result in pollution. It was a project by Miss Nuchwara Moonkaew and Miss Jitranuch Chairach, students at the Mathayom 5 level from Bunyawat Witthayalai School from Lampang Province.

2) In Chemistry, the
“Semiconductor Cells for Industrial Dye Removal” project was able to efficiently remove dye in a cost-effective manner and utilized renewable energy. It was a project by Miss Preeyaphon Kandee, Miss Nichakorn Kiawkham, and Miss Pimpoyom Sudcharoen, students at the Mathayom 5 level from Chulabhorn Royal College in Pathum Thani Province.

3) A special award on sustainable innovation in plant science, the program “Using Biological Substance from Crudely Extracted Goat Weed in Controlling the Cause of Leaf Curl Disease in Seeda Tomatoes” will delay the symptoms of the disease, eliminate whiteflies that are the carriers, and dispose of weeds. Most importantly, the measure avoids using chemicals in the process, which helps reduce principal costs and eliminates the risks associated with chemicals. It was a project by Miss Naruphon Paengma, Miss Janyaporn Kotimanassawanik, and Mr Wicchakorn Nantaikuakul, students at the Mathayom 5 level from Khon Kaen University Secondary School.

These awards are emblematic of the capabilities of Thai scientists accepted at the international level. I would like to commend the capabilities and dedication of the students and teachers who have garnered distinction for our country and hope that they inspire youths across the country.

In order to support the country’s youth and human resources in science, I have instructed the Ministry of Science and Technology to coordinate with the Ministry of Education to consider ways to support science, technology, and engineering in school curriculums and make these subjects more practical.

This includes compiling and publicizing quality research by students that have the potential for commercial use, which would generate revenue and enhance the country’s production capabilities and competitiveness.

It is a lost opportunity that in the past, many research findings were shelved because no one was willing to put them to use. Today, we must re-examine the usefulness of quality research.

Today, we must support innovation, reduce imports, and increase exports in order to generate revenue for the country. This administration realizes the importance of developing innovation, aims to increase funding in research and development to equal 1 percent of GDP, and will accelerate state investment projects that are able to enhance the country’s potential.

One of the government’s policies to support this agenda is the establishment of an innovation database to enable effective mobilization of the country’s innovations by serving as a channel for researchers to register their research findings in order to receive support from the government. Presently, this database is divided into 14 categories, such as agriculture, education, science, medicine, construction, electronics and telecommunications, vehicles and transportation, and weapons and equipment for security.

So far 201 applications have been submitted, 56 of which have already been approved. The mobilization of this agenda further requires the help of the private sector and educational institutions in establishing industrial and food and drug standards. We must accelerate our efforts to improve our support for innovation so that the motivation is not lost. It would be unfortunate if many beneficial innovations go untapped.

Incentives for registering in this database include tax exemptions for juristic persons, deductions for expenses directed towards research, development, technology, and innovation. In addition, innovations on this list receive preference by government agencies. As an overall benefit, this innovation database will encourage innovation development to accommodate the various technological advancements.

It would also help spur the creation of innovative products and services that are of high value that reduce our imports of expensive products, dependence on labor and limited resources, which will be an important step in achieving our Thailand 4.0 agenda.

I have instructed the Ministry of Public Health and related agencies  to give preference to drugs and medical equipment produced in Thailand. I will also be closely monitoring our public health budget because it has a significant effect on our golden medical card policy. It would be much cheaper if we were able to produce all our medical necessities on our own.

At a time when the Thai economy constantly faces global economic challenges, not only must we incorporate innovation to add value to our products and services, we must also ready ourselves by strengthening our economic resilience in all sectors.

The Ministry of Commerce has collaborated with the Ministry of Industry in supporting environmentally friendly production, while the Ministry of Labour is committed to raising the standards of Thai labor. The Thailand Trust Mark is a certification for products and services produced in Thailand that are based on credible standards, high production quality, environmental friendliness, and ethical labor practices.

This certification aims to boost credibility among foreign buyers and consumers, add value to our products and services, and enhance the competitiveness of businesses in order for the country to overcome its middle-income trap.

The Ministry of Commerce is also considering measures to address the price of agricultural products. For example, cassava, which has undergone periods of shortages and surplus, has caused issues with pricing and made it necessary to import alternative products for livestock feed. It is an issue that we must continuously address and requires cooperation from everyone.

There are presently 721 products and services that have received the T Mark in various industries such as food, heavy industries, lifestyle, fashion, wellness, international education, and medical services.

This certification not only boosts the country’s reputation as a producer of quality products, it also comes with many economic benefits, whether it is adding value to products, enhancing competitiveness, and increasing Thailand’s role as a prominent global trading partner.
My fellow Thai citizens, the government and the NCPO affirms that Thailand’s democracy must not be a failed democracy, but a democracy with a government that commits to good governance and brings the country towards security, prosperity, and sustainability. I would like to ask the public to consider four issues in order to receive feedback and consider our future course of action. They are:

1) Do you think the next election would lead to a government that practices good governance?
2) If not, what should we do?
3) Elections are important for a democracy. But it is not the sole determinant of the country’s future and other matters, such as whether the country has a strategy or undergoes reforms, is this correct or not?

4) Do you think that politicians with inappropriate behavior should have the opportunity to seek office again? If they gain office again and new problems arise, who should fix them and with what means? Please submit your answers and opinions to any Dhamrongdhama center and the Ministry of Interior will compile your feedback.

Finally, following the Meteorological Department’s forecast for rain up to 70 percent of the country, I would like to ask farmers and fishermen to pay close attention to the latest updates and heed safety warnings by officials.

The government is in charge of water management and flood prevention, where all related agencies must ready water pumps at flood prone areas, while officials must closely monitor the situation and stand ready to provide assistance to residents in areas that are affected.

I have instructed the Governor of Bangkok to have officials in all districts standby and patrol areas that are prone to flooding. I wish to see activity from all officials in readying themselves. Agencies across the country must take great care in this matter and the government itself sees the well-being of the public as a matter of utmost importance.

Please also exercise caution while using the road during times of rain. Please have patience for one another, take care of your health and the health of your family, and have understanding for officials. Malls and shopping centers should ensure that their large signs are stable, while local officials must ensure the stability of trees, cables, and poles, particularly in public parks, sidewalks, and bus stops. Please do not allow the problem to happen before taking action. Those who are careless in their duties and fail to implement preventative measures will be punished.

Thank you and I wish everyone happiness during the weekend. Sawasdee Krub.