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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations

Disarmament and International Security

during the General Debate of the First Committee
59th United Nations General Assembly
New York, 13 October 2004


Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines associates itself with the statement made by Myanmar on behalf of the ten (10) members of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

We take this opportunity to commend the support of Undersecretary-General Nobuyasu Abe and the Department for Disarmament affairs to our disarmament cause. Undersecretary Abe’s statement has given us a comprehensive and up-to-date view of where stand on disarmament issue at this time.

The Philippines shares the concern of other delegations over the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in the multilateral arena.

There has regrettably been no substantive discussion during the last session of the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC), bogged down on the issue of agenda setting. Despite the UNDC Chairman’s efforts, the European Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the United States failed to reach an agreement in achieving a compromise package of substantive agenda items.

Furthermore, the Third and Final Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference failed to produce a consensus report containing a substantive recommendation for the 2005 NPT Review Conference.

On the other hand, my delegation notes recent promising developments despite the collapse of the recent session of the UNDC.

First, the First Session in June this year of the Open-Ended Working Group to Negotiate an International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons established under resolution 58/241 promised further efforts to curb the problem brought about by the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, particularly on the three key elements of tracing, namely, marking, record-keeping and international cooperation. It is fortunate that this issue continues to remain at the forefront of United Nations concerns.

The Philippines has been taking every possible step to enhance our program to address the problem on illicit trade of small arms and light weapons, and in the areas of marking and record-keeping as well as cooperation in tracing of small arms. The Philippine National Police has been strictly enforcing our Basic Firearms Law, seeing to it that the manufacturing processes of arms and weapons are in accordance with law and other existing regulations. We also have what we call our “macro-etching” process enabling us to determine or restore the original serial numbers of firearms which have been defaced or tampered.

Second, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-ban Treaty (CTBT), with its verification and on-site inspection regime, is a major contribution towards the reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. The Philippines endorsed the Joint Ministerial Statement on the CTBT last month, calling for its universal adherence. My country is committed to maintaining a stable and peaceful international and regional environment. Once again, we join the call on all States to refrain from pursuing programs that would undermine the CTBT, pending its entry into force.

The Philippines has consistently stressed the importance of achieving universal adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is indeed disappointing to note that four years after the 2000 NPT Review Conference, the collective and unequivocal commitment by Nuclear Weapons States for a transparent, accountable and verifiable elimination of their nuclear arsenals remains largely unrealized. Once again we urge the nuclear weapons states to make further efforts towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The Philippines also reiterates its support of the much delayed convening of the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament. Much work has already been done over the years in this Committee and in the Disarmament Commission on the agenda and objectives of the SSOD IV. Let us not relent in our resolve to re-convene SSOD, mindful of the fast developing events in the international peace and security environment.

Furthermore, my delegation is also encouraged by the recent development in our region – the imminent formation of the ASEAN Security Community, which would lead to an ASEAN at peace with one another and with the world at large. We are of the view that the ASEAN Security Community would strengthen our capacity to deal with security challenges, both traditional and non-traditional.

The Philippines views nuclear weapons-free zones not only as instruments for nuclear disarmament. In our own region, we remain hopeful of the fruitful negotiations with nuclear powers on the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. My delegation also acknowledges China’s interest in acceding to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon Free Zone Treaty.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, the Philippines associates itself with the call of other delegations for a comprehensive reform in the United Nations. We will actively support efforts aimed at reinvigorating both the General Assembly and the First Committee to allow them to respond more efficiently to the challenges that confront our ever changing world.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.

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