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Thematic Debate Cluster 4: Conventional Weapons

Thursday, 20 October 2022
Ambassador Ariel R. Peñaranda, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters


Mr. Chair and distinguished delegates,

My delegation aligns itself with the statements delivered by Indonesia on behalf of NAM and by Cambodia on behalf of ASEAN.

The commitment of the Philippines to conventional weapons disarmament finds anchor in our constitutional renunciation of war as an instrument of policy and our ironclad commitment to International Humanitarian Law.

Our outlook is driven not merely by strategic or security exigencies but by humanitarian imperative. We are committed to enhancing national security by addressing the scourge of conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons and improvised explosive devices. We pursue actions that uphold the centrality of the victims of these weapons and the need for affected states to build independent national capacities.

This year, we have completed our ratification of Protocol V of the Convention on Conventional Weapons and of the Arms Trade Treaty. This makes us one of the very few countries that are parties to all humanitarian disarmament conventions. We urge all Member States to likewise accede to all these conventions.

Consistent with our promotion of the humanitarian norms enshrined in these conventions, we condemn the use of all improvised explosive devices, landmines, cluster munitions, and incendiary weapons by any actor under any circumstances. This includes the violations committed by the New People’s Army in the Philippines.

Mister Chair,

We thank all Member States for their trust and confidence during our chairmanship of the Eight Biennial Meeting of States to consider the implementation of the Programme of Action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (BMS8). The adoption by BMS8 of a consensus outcome document is encouraging, especially in times of troubling international environment. This outcome provides impetus to the next Fourth Review Conference. The collective effort to find consensus contributes to solutions to the problems and challenges posed by small arms and light weapons is inspiring.

One of the concrete outcomes of BMS8 is the decision to establish the dedicated fellowship programme on small arms and light weapons. We support the effort of Colombia, Japan, and South Africa towards achieving a consolidated option for Member States in the funding and administrative arrangements.

We also welcome and strongly support the inclusion of disposal in this outcome document. Prevention of weapons diversion through comprehensive destruction of surplus small arms and ammunition in the Philippines has been one of our priorities. History has shown that in the absence of proper demilitarization or disposal of weapons, potentially harmful or harmful weaponry parts find their way into the hands of unauthorized recipients, particularly criminal elements and terrorists. More should be done on this front so that more states can benefit from a national program for disposal. These actions are also integral to post-conflict peace building, transitional justice issues, as well as promoting development and sustained and inclusive economic growth, and thus reinforcing the significant nexus between peace and development.

We welcome the commencement of the work of the open-ended working group on conventional ammunition and welcome the decision tabled by Germany to have a contingency fourth substantive session. We believe that a comprehensive through-life ammunition management (TLAM) is the most logical and practical step forward to address problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus.

Mister Chair,

We remain committed to universalizing, operationalizing, and strengthening the Convention on Conventional Weapons, the Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention, and the Cluster Munitions Convention. We also continue to call for collaborative action to counter the threat posed by improvised explosive devices, particularly by armed non-state actors. We support efforts to improve the implementation of IHL in the context of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA).

Guided by the principle of inclusivity and equity, we support a gendered perspective and analysis in all of these work in order to identify relevant entry points for gender mainstreaming, as well the meaningful participation of youth in all our disarmament efforts.

Mister Chair,

The development of advanced technologies is rapidly transforming human life and experience. We still barely understand how these transformations are unfolding and where they are leading. This behooves us to update our global governance structures, particularly in the context of artificial intelligence. This technology could solve many of our old problems while also presenting us with new humanitarian, moral, and ethical dilemmas.

We therefore echo the urgent call of the Philippine President, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. for the international community to form legal rules that will prevent the weaponization of artificial intelligence. In this regard, the Philippines along with a group of like-minded states have submitted a draft Protocol VI to the CCW, which contains proposed prohibitions and regulations on autonomous weapon systems. We call on all High Contracting Parties to the CCW to support the commencement of negotiations on this draft Protocol.

Thank you, Mister Chair.