Duterte hails Senate ratification of nuclear ban treaty

By Azer Parrocha

February 1, 2021, 9:56 pm

<p>President Rodrigo Roa Duterte <em>(File photo)</em></p>

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday hailed the Senate for concurring in the ratification of a treaty that would ban the development and use of nuclear weapons.

In a statement from the Office of the President, Duterte described the ratification of the Treaty of the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) as a "milestone", reinforcing the country's resolve together with the international community in pursuing a world free of nuclear weapons for peace, security, and the survival of all humanity.

Duterte said that as State Party to the TPNW, the Philippines is faithful to the policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in our territory as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

He said the ratification builds on the Philippines' principled commitment to work towards the complete elimination of weapons of mass destruction, citing the country's earlier adoption of the Bangkok Treaty establishing the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (SEANWFZ), the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions.

"As I said during my address at the United Nations General Assembly General Debate, the Philippines joins hands with like-minded states in pursuing for the complete prohibition of the development, possession, use, and transfer of nuclear weapons," Duterte was quoted as saying.

In light of a more complex global security landscape, he also emphasized the need for states to commit themselves to avert and prevent nuclear incidents.

Duterte said it is in the interest of developing and developed countries alike to reduce if not eliminate nuclear risks and threats since their growth rides on the back of a secure and stable environment.

He noted that nuclear proliferation is a real threat to global security, adding that nuclear deterrence does not guarantee international peace and security.

"The only guarantee is the total elimination of nuclear weapons from the face of the earth. The TPNW provides this guarantee," he added.

On Monday, 23 senators voted to adopt Senate Resolution No. 620 expressing the chamber’s concurrence in the ratification of the TPNW.

The TPNW is the "first globally applicable multilateral agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons on the basis of international humanitarian law,” according to Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who sponsored the resolution on the floor as chair of the Senate foreign relations committee.

The treaty prohibits state parties from “developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons; assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in said activities; and allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed, installed or deployed in their respective territories.”

Pimentel said the Philippines is among the first states to sign the treaty, along with 52 other countries.

As a signatory to the treaty, he said the Philippines has much to gain, including the TPNW's provisions on victim assistance and environmental remediation.

Adopted during a United Nations conference on July 7, 2017, the treaty was signed by then Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Sept. 20, 2017.

Duterte ratified the treaty on Nov. 18, 2020 and then submitted it to the Senate for concurrence. (PNA)