CHEMICAL WEAPONS PROHIBITION ACT

Mr. President:

 

Your Committee on National Defense and Security, joint with Committee on Finance, has the honor to sponsor Senate Bill No. 2042, under Committee Report No. 8. entitled Chemical Weapons Prohibition Act.

 

Affirming our country’s commitment to maintain international peace and security, the Philippines became a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1993. The Convention is the first disarmament agreement negotiated within a multilateral framework that provides for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction under universally applied international control.[1] It establishes an international norm against the development of chemical weapons for all time, and provides the legal and political basis for firm action against those who violate its rules.[2]

 

As of October 2013, 190 states have already signed to be part of this endeavor.

 

On our part, we have been firm with our commitment to honor our obligations under the Convention. The Anti-Terrorism Council of the Office of the President, which acts as the Philippine National Authority on the Chemical Weapons Convention, has been participating in different activities and capacity-building trainings related to the Convention’s implementation, together with other government agencies and private sector.

 

Despite our efforts to fulfill our obligation under the Convention, we, however, cannot fully implement its provisions in the country due to lack of a legislative framework that will give teeth to its implementation.

 

In order to address this concern, your Committee on National Defense and Security is pushing for the passage of SBN 2042. Consistent with the provisions of the Convention, this proposed enabling law prohibits, under any circumstance, the development, production, manufacture, acquisition, possession, stockpile, retention, transfer, or use of chemical weapons, or engagement in any other activities prohibited under the Convention.

 

Furthermore, a separate and permanent Philippine National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention will be established. It shall serve as the national coordinating body for effective liaison with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the implementing body of the Convention, and other State Parties to the Convention, and shall be the lead agency in the implementation of the provisions of the Convention.

 

Mr. President, in our modern society, the use of chemical weapons, especially by non-state actors such as terrorists, poses grave threat to international security. SBN 2042, which provides the legislative framework for the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in this country, is a vital step towards maintaining the peaceful and meaningful utilization of chemicals and the creation of a treaty regime which will ensure that governments from different states will fulfil their national obligation of implementing chemical disarmament and non-proliferation.

 

Thus, the passage of this bill is imperative to reaffirm and carry out our commitment as a signatory to the Convention.

 

In view of the foregoing, the immediate passage of this measure is earnestly sought.

 

Thank you, Mr. President.