From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals March 2, 2018

A very good evening to you all.

It is not difficult to see solidarity in our society when there is stability in our nation. Our unity can clearly be seen when we all cheer for the Thai athletes competing in the international sport events.  I think that this character is our uniqueness.  This is “Thai Niyom”. Thai Niyom scheme aims to promote the sense of patriotism and solidarity in the society.

On behalf of all Thai people, I’d like to congratulate Thai athletes who gave us a sense of pride.

The first athlete is Chao Laem Srisaket Nakornluang Promotion who defeated Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada, defending his World Boxing Council’s (WBC) title for the second time. The fight took place overseas which was very difficult for Chao Laem to adjust to different surroundings.

Chao Laem is a skilled boxer who has a strong determination. His opponent, Estrada, was also a very skillful fighter. Chao Laem’s victory was a result of his hard work, determination, commitment, and intelligence. His historic success has brought a tremendous happiness and pride to the nation and her people. We are all very proud of his achievement.

His road to championship wasn’t an easy one. Chao Laem had to go through many tests. He was born in a poor family, but given a chance in the ring. He never gave up. And his hard work led him to victory.

He is an exemplary model for all. I wish that everyone, especially our youths would learn from his story as well as the story of successful people because these stories are a good source of inspiration. The road to success is not easy to navigate. Nothing worth having comes easy. We have to continue improving ourselves and be the best at what we do.

The next athlete I want to praise is Atthaya Thitikul, aka Nong Jean, a 15 year old girl from Ratchaburi province. She was crowned the winner of Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific 2018 in Singapore. The tournament was held on Saturday, February 24th. It was an amateur competition taken part by 83 golfers from 17 countries around the world.

I would like to give her my best wishes for her future achievements. In addition, Thailand has played host to a major sport event like Honda LPGA Thailand 2018. Although Thai athletes weren’t able to win all the way, three of them were placed among top ten finishers. The three are Moriya Jutanugarn who finished 2nd, Ariya Jutanugarn who finished 5th, and Pornanong Phatlum who finished 7th.  As you can see, we have many good female golfers, I would like to give them my best wishes for their future success.  I promise to continue my support for our Thai athletes as well as representatives.

My fellow Thais, there are a total of nine principles in the Thai Niyom Yangyuen scheme which has been launched at the all levels i.e. province, district, sub-district, and village. The nine principles are as follows:

1) promoting love and solidarity in the society. 2) leaving no one  anyone behind (taking care of low-income people. 3) improving career opportunities, better livelihood, and better income. 4) following the sufficiency economy philosophy and  apply it in our everyday life. 5) understanding rights and responsibilities as Thai citizens. 6) understanding administrative procedure at all levels. 7) understanding the principle of democracy and good governance. 8) keeping up with technologies, 9) integrating all efforts to address the problem of illicit drugs.

In addition, I have instructed all concerned agencies to make sure that their works are in line with projects under the Thai Niyom scheme. There will be 4 committees responsible for communities outside Bangkok and one committee for Bangkok.

1) The national mobilization committee with the prime minister as a chairperson.

2) The provincial mobilization committee with governor as a chairperson.

3) The district mobilization committee with district chief as a chairperson.

4) The sub-district mobilization committee with community leader, local official and the public working together.

As for the capital city, Bangkok Permanent Secretary and district office director will appoint working committees to mobilize projects and activities, and evaluate the outcomes. I will give you updates periodically.  So, please stay tuned.

This is the initial phase, mobilization committees will visit each community 4 times to collect information to learn more about problems and needs of local people. Projects and measures will be issued accordingly. This way, budget will be spent more effectively with this integrated efforts.

This past week, I was in joint discussions with the regional policy development committee and the provincial policy management committee. The meeting was focused on the development of provinces and regions as well as the distribution of budget that shall meet the real needs of each communities.

This is a game changing approach in term of budgeting process. Budget will be given to all areas in the country from the Government.  At the same time, provinces shall submit their projects to the Government for financial support. This is bottom up.

In order to make it work, we must work at both ends i.e. Top down and bottom up. I am hopeful this change in method will improve productivity and efficiency in budget allocation. It will also promote good governance and will make the best use of distributed funds, especially in a way that meets people’s needs.

As for the drafting of provincial and regional development plans, they must comply with the 20-year national strategic plan and national development plan while at the same time providing potential solutions to local people and address communities’ problems. These plans has to be in line with provincial and regional development strategies too.

The drafting process takes into account all past obstacles and solutions. The meeting thus approved development plans for 76 provinces and 18 provincial groups for the years 2018-2021, along with an action and budget plan for fiscal year 2019 of 76 provinces and 18 provincial groups. A total of 57 billion baht will be spent on 2,399 projects.

Meanwhile, regional development plans will be drafted in accordance with national strategies while promoting cooperation among concerned agencies.  These plans will address problems and challenges. Each region should have projects of their own, paralleling with other regions.

The meeting then endorsed regional development plans and 1,200 projects to be launched under the 2017-2021 development plan with a budget of 1.5 billion baht. I wanted to share with you today these regional development plans for your information.

I want you to understand this government has good intention to continue to solve people’s problems and difficulties throughout the country. I also want to stress the importance of continuity, adherence to national strategies, and the recognition of differences in each area.

As for the central region, Bangkok will become a modern metropolis, with an emphasis on environmental protection, better livelihoods, and solutions to flood disasters. The central region will be a manufacturing base for high value products and services using new technologies and innovations to improve the country’s competitive edge and sustainability.

There will be an effective water management system and stability in biodiversity and ecosystem. Tourist destinations will get a major facelift for better connectivity. Thailand will open more doors for trade, investment, tourism, connectivity to economic zones and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

As for city planning, it is a big issue which can be confusing for many people. Many of us don’t have to same understanding when it comes to city planning. According to the law, every Government has to revise the plan every two years, according to the laws and people have to take part in the process.

The problem is not about whether we do have or don’t have the plan.  We have the plan and we have to revise it every two years.  The problem lies in the lack of public cooperation. Many people violate the rules under the city plan. Buildings and structures are built without permission, consequently causing many problems including pollution and waste water.

This is a long-standing problem. Bangkok and other big cities were established long time ago. More and more people live in these big cities. The city had become more crowded which makes it more difficult to improve the drainage system because all areas are populated. Although a city plan is in place, the implementation is impossible. People violate the law. Officers have to enforce the law. Although many violators are prosecuted, more people continue to break the law. It is difficult to implement a city plan when nobody follows it.

I would like to have cooperation from everyone in respecting the city plan. We must resolve this problem. If we are serious about addressing the problems of flooding and waste water. We need more drainage canals.  To have them, we have to remove the illegally built structures

because the drainage canal system was built when Bangkok was small. Today, Bangkok is big and crowded with bad traffic jam. The expansion of the capital city has crowded streets and communities. Therefore, all of us have to follow the latest city plan which was endorsed by all parties.

As for the northeastern region, the government is keen to turn the region into an economic hub of the Greater Mekong Subregion. Water will be better managed for economic purposes and household consumption. Inequality gap will be narrowed. Lives will improve.

And land will be better managed for future economic stability. The region will also need to protect natural resources and connect its infrastructure with the Eastern Economic Corridor such as highways and dual rail tracks. Infrastructure development and expansion will lead to a sustainable growth along the border and in special economic zones.

As for the eastern region, our commitment is to turn it into a leading economic hub of ASEAN. We will continue to improve the existing industries while adding more businesses in the region. To increase the country’s ability, the focus will be on the EEC and special economic zones.

The eastern region will become a production base that offers quality food and tropical fruits to the world. Border areas will turn into gateways connecting Thailand with its neighboring nations. Tourism and hospitality services will be improved. Cultural tourism will be promoted. Natural resources will be preserved. The problems of coastal erosion and pollution will be fixed.

The northern region will be a creative high value economic base with value-added products and services that derive from local wisdom and innovations. Also, the region will be a manufacturing base for organic crops for high value agricultural processing. Tourist sites and hospitality services will be improved, in line with the increasing number of visitors.

To ensure a sustainable growth, the region will make sure wealth and benefits are equally distributed. Infrastructure will connect with that of the Greater Mekong Subregion.

This is a great opportunity for the north to expand its economy through trade and investment for better living standards and better professional skills in the service sector. The region will also have to rehabilitate its natural resources, establish a better water management system, and come up with a long-term solution for polluted air.

In the south, we plan on developing the region into a global tourist destination with quality attractions and endorsements of community tourism. We also plan for the region to become a hub for para and palm oil by developing the processing industry by adding value through research and innovative technology in the agriculture and processing industries.

We also wish to develop the region as an economic zone that connects with the trade and investment sectors of other regions in the world. We will do this by developing infrastructure to accommodate growth in the agricultural and industrial sectors as well the tourism industry. We will also raise the quality of the fishing and livestock industry to ensure income stability for farmers.

We will also develop Su-ngai Kolok and Betong to become border trade and tourist destinations that connect with Malaysia and Singapore in order to strengthen the local economy.

This is an overall picture of regional development policies. In order to integrate the work of various agencies in order to better address the problems of the public. In addition to regional and provincial development plans, the government also has programs in the pipeline designed to enhance managerial efficiency to better address local issues.

For example, projects under the Thai Niyom scheme will send officials to various communities to discuss with locals of their issues and needs. Government agencies are tasked with planning short term solutions and to gather data for long term policies. We must also take part in the Pracharat mechanism as well.

This will help the development plans that meet the needs of the community.  This is growing from within which in accordance to the Royal Guidance.

In addition to central policies designed to better reach communities, the government has also utilized big data as a tool for public administration aimed at raising the quality of people’s lives, especially ways to increase income, reduce living costs, and adding job opportunities.

The database will be comprised of integrated existing data and new data such as information on basic needs collected by the Department of Community Development on over 35 million applicants, information collected by the Ministry of Finance on 14 million applicants of the low-income program, and other information such as public health, education, or public services of different areas. This will enable us to analyze and identify citizens who require immediate assistance, such as the 1.4 million people who face issues that require overlapping policies.

This Big Data will enable us to identify behavioral patterns and relationships between different dimensions and pinpoint the needs of different areas and sectors so that we can issue the right policy.

This increased efficiency will reduce excess budget due to redundancies in deploying personnel. If we work according to this new system, we will be able to cut costs from our budget.

This is merely the beginning. The government aims to utilize big data as a primary tool and to expand its usage to other agencies and sectors, such as for assisting the disabled or creating agrimaps that showcase the risk profiles of various areas on drought and flooding.

Ultimately, this data will enable us to forecast behavior or the potential damage from natural disasters. We will be able to use this to data to draft government policies and expand on our crop-assurance program to better manage risks for farmers.

Regional and provincial development plans are initiated under this Government.  Before, we only have a plan at the provincial cluster level. We have to make sure that all plans are heading to the same direction.

Concerned agencies have to work together with communities to plan useful projects for the communities. Both sides should help each other collecting useful information as well as considering problems that might occurred in the future.  These elements are what the government is currently working on to integratedly forecast issues and address them together.

This is to improve the effectiveness of the Government’s work. I would like to see good cooperation on the public side in providing useful information and suggestions.  This learning process will help everyone understand the issues as well as how to solve it better and faster.  This process could provide sustainable solutions to problems.
My fellow Thais, information that everyone should follow, in addition to reform policies and the election, are policies that aimed at creating security, prosperity, and sustainability. However, it is also important to check the accuracy of the information as well as the credibility of the sources.

The media sector plays a vital role in creating understanding and promoting cooperation from all sectors. The media sector should make sure that the people of this country are well informed of news that is of public interest. Ethical conduct is very important in this profession.

I would also like to update everyone on the progress of 2 policies,

1. The national welfare card policy is currently in its 2nd phase, which is to provide job training. I’ve received reports that over 5 million cardholders, or almost half of 11.4 million cardholders nationwide, have expressed the interest to participate in the quality of life development program.

Provinces that have seen the most amount of interest are Kalasin, Si Sa Ket, Loei, Roi Et, and Nakhon Phanom in that order. Participants in the program will receive an increase of 100-200 baht per month in addition to their original amount starting March this year and, by April, will be provided with opportunities to develop their occupational skills, access to capital fund, and job opportunities.

Please be assured that the Government is seriously and genuinely working on assisting low income citizens as well as strengthening local economies in parallel with improving the country’s overall industrial, trade, and investment sectors. We will not allow our efforts to go to waste. I have called on agencies at all levels to work with determination, principle, and honesty.

I also ask that the public serve as the eyes and ears for corruption. Any lack of transparency can be reported at the hotlines 1111 or 1567.

2. The registration of foreign nationals. I’ve stressed that employers shall bring their employees from the 3 nationalities (Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos) to conduct physical examinations at the designated public health ministry centers and bring the doctor’s certification to the one-stop-service (OSS) centers.

Also, don’t forget to register and apply for work permits at these OSS centers by March 31 this year. There is only 1 month left. Currently, there are around 30,000 workers who have registered (15,000 Myanmar, 12,000 Cambodia, and 3,000 Laos nationals).

I don’t want people to wait until the last minute, as a bottlenecked process will not be fast and convenient. The government has been lenient on this issue. Those who fail to comply with the regulations this time will be prosecuted. I therefore ask that businesses to seriously pay attention to this issue.

You can obtain information at provincial employment offices and the 10 branches in Bangkok as well as the Ministry of Labor hotline 1506, dialing 2 for the Department of Employment.

My fellow Thais, I support projects initiated by educational institutions or the public that are constructive to society, altruistic, or help the underprivileged as these are examples of Thai Niyom concept that can be done without having to wait for support from the Government. I’ve learned of a program to provide access to education for underprivileged children by supplying school equipment.

In this connection, second year students at the College of Dramatic Arts at the Bunditpatanasilpa Institute have launched a program to assist underprivileged children
at Prateepsuksa School in Suphan Buri, a school which has many Hmong and Karen children from Tak, Phetchabun, and Kamphaeng Phet as well as children from poor families in Sam Chuk District. This is a privately run school that offers free education.

The project aims to provide assistance in the form of school supplies as well as sport gears. The program also encourages good citizenship by instilling love for the country and good ethics. This is merely a small example of many programs that are currently active. I hope other schools shall use this example, whether it be on the school curriculum or teacher development.

Teachers nowadays must also adapt their curriculum to coincide with today’s changes. We must teach what is beyond the textbook and equip students with workable skills for the future. Schools are highly regards for their contribution to education and national development.

I believe that if we all come together under the Pracharat mechanism, the private and public sector will be able to assist schools more. This way we will grow stronger together.

As we are moving forward to the election, everyone must help maintain peace and order and national stability along with contributing to a democracy of good governance.

I call on the public to take part in the anti-corruption campaign to ensure that there will not be corruption in government spending at all levels and projects. Sometimes investigation procedures may not be comprehensive due to false documents. I task agencies to put their attention on documentation process.

An example is the incompleteness of the disabled person assistance program. Agencies must ensure that all documents are in place and shall conduct investigations when there’s complaint. We must all contribute to the solution instead of leaving the responsibility with high ranking officials. The public need not to be afraid of retaliation. They will be protected by the Government.

I hope that people help the Government in eliminating corruption through the proper channels and learn more about their rights and responsibilities. Don’t let anyone take advantage of our rights.

Thank you, and my very best wishes to everyone and all families. Sawasdee Krub.