Ambassador Bayani S. Mercado
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations
General Debate of the First Committee
New York, 3 October 2006
The Philippines joins other delegations in congratulating you on your
assumption as chair and for making history by becoming the first woman
to preside over the First Committee. We also congratulate the other
the members of your bureau on your well-deserved election.
The Philippines expresses its appreciation to Undersecretary
General Nobuaki Tanaka for giving us a broader picture of the disarmament
and international security environment in the statement he delivered
The Philippines associates itself with the statement delivered yesterday
by the Permanent Representative of Indonesia on behalf of the member-countries
of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
No one would dispute the fact that the proliferation and
uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons pose a serious threat
to peace, safety and security and even to sustained economic growth
and development. Developing countries are more vulnerable as the illicit
trafficking of small arms and light weapons has fuelled armed conflict
in some parts of the world, adversely affecting millions.
Like other delegations, we had high hopes during the 2006 Conference
to Review the UN Program of Action in Small Arms and Light Weapons and
are thus disappointed that it was unable to reach agreement on a formal
outcome document. During the review conference in June, the Philippines
highlighted four points: international cooperation; the need to promote
dialogue and a culture of peace in the implementation of the program
of action; the important role of civil society; and follow up mechanisms.
We wish to reiterate these points as we look forward to a new resolution
that would set a direction for international community action on the
issue of preventing the illicit trafficking of small arms and light
weapons. This resolution should give emphasis to the follow up mechanisms
to effectively implement the program of action to be addressed by the
next review conference.
The Philippines would also like to underscore the important role civil
society plays in our efforts to address the scourge of trafficking in
small arms and light weapons through the promotion of a culture of peace.
The role of civil society has been recognized in several provisions
of the program of action. As such, it should have a role in international,
sub-regional and national efforts to implement the program of action.
In particular, the Philippines recognize the role faith communities
and interfaith cooperation can have in implementing the program of action.
We have been actively encouraging these faith communities to call on
their respective followers to extend their full cooperation in efforts
to address the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
We have been actively pursuing and promoting interfaith dialogue among
the different faith communities to come up with a coherent and unified
stand on this issue. We believe that the Tripartite Forum on Interfaith
Cooperation for Peace participated in by 50 governments, 15 UN agencies
and 110 religious NGOs accredited with the UN can be called upon to
extend its support in this regard.
Five months ago, Secretary General Kofi Annan told his
audience in Tokyo that the world is at a crossroads where it has to
choose between two paths—one that leads to the restriction and
reversal of nuclear proliferation and another that leads to a growing
number of states that feel obliged to arm themselves with weapons of
mass destruction and non-State actors acquiring the means to carry out
In his speech, the Secretary General lamented that the international
community appears to be sleepwalking towards the latter direction as
a result of what he said are its miscalculations, sterile debates and
the paralysis of multilateral mechanisms. Sadly, nothing much has changed
since the Secretary General made the statement.
Things are as complicated as ever with the current deadlock in the field
of disarmament and non-proliferation. Just a year ago, the Philippines
expressed its disappointment over the failure of the Review Conference
for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
We also joined others in expressing disappointment in the failure of
the 2005 World Summit to include a section on disarmament and non-proliferation
on its final outcome document. We are likewise disheartened that the
credibility and capability of the Disarmament Commission to fulfill
its mandate and advance the disarmament agenda has been put into question,
especially after it only made minor changes to its working methods after
meeting for three weeks in April.
Despite these frustrating developments, the Philippines is one with
the Secretary General in saying that now is the time to break the current
impasse in multilateral negotiations and bring disarmament back on the
international agenda. Urgent progress is needed and all member-states
must muster the political will to achieve the goals of disarmament and
The Philippines recognizes the danger of weapons of mass destruction
falling into the wrong hands. The world has seen how far terrorists
are willing to go in wreaking havoc just to bring their message of hate
across. We cannot afford to make the mistake of allowing the wholesale
murder of innocents through the use of these weapons to happen.
We share the concern of other member-states on the threat posed by the
trafficking of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons to non-state
actors and their use for terrorist activities. We also share the concern
over the lack of measures in existing international laws to address
In view of this, the Philippines will actively engage itself in efforts
to strengthen all relevant international initiatives to prevent non-state
actors from acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction. While the
Philippines believes that the best way to prevent this from happening
is to eliminate such weapons, the problem of proliferation can be immediately
addressed through creative, dynamic and proactive approaches. Domestic
controls to prevent the proliferation of such weapons and means of delivery,
particularly for terroristic purposes, could be adopted, including legislative
As an elected member of the Security Council from 2004 to 2005, the
Philippines actively participated in the negotiations that led to the
adoption of Security Council Resolution 1540 that calls on all states
to refrain from supporting by any means non-state actors that attempt
to acquire, use or transfer nuclear, chemical or biological weapons
and their delivery systems. The Philippines co-sponsored that resolution
and later sat as vice chairman of the 1540 Committee.
This year, we mark the 10th anniversary of the opening for signature
of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The 176 signatures
and 135 ratifications by member-states that have been gathered so far
is an indication of the international community’s continued recognition
of the important role of the treaty not only in bringing an end to a
period that has witnessed over 2,000 nuclear test explosions worldwide
but also for its contribution to the enhancement of world peace and
The Philippines is one of the 17 of the 32 countries from
the Asia-Pacific that has completed the ratification process.
As current chair of ASEAN, the Philippines would like
to highlight and welcome the recent ratification of the treaty by Vietnam,
a fellow ASEAN member. This is of particular importance since Vietnam
is one of the states listed in Annex II of the Treaty. The Philippines
reiterates its calls on those states that have not signed and/or ratified
the treaty, to do so as soon as possible to maintain momentum for the
treaty’s early entry into force, particularly the 10 remaining
Annex II states.
I would like to end Madame Chair by once again assuring you of the full
support and cooperation of the Philippine delegation as you steer the
work of the First Committee to its successful conclusion.