On Tuesday, March 20, the Philippines delivered the first statement at the Preparatory Committee for the Third United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.
“Thank you, Mr. President. I thank your able Chairmanship of this Preparatory Committee Meeting. The Philippines associates itself with the statement of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
“The Philippines is an archipelago of some 7,600 islands. Because of the porous nature of its borders, safeguarding the national territory from the movement of illicit goods — particularly drugs, firearms and explosives, which in our experience go together — is an existential challenge.
“Our adherence to the UN Programme of Action and its International Tracing Instrument on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) is more than a perfunctory obligation. It is a necessity that requires us to partner with other countries. Philippine policy is reflected in our various laws addressing the trafficking of illicit firearms.
“The draft of the National Action Plan on Small Arms and Light Weapons is now with our President. The Plan aims to enhance the capacity and capability of government to stop, fight, and eradicate the illicit traffic of arms.
“Philippine policy is carried out by collaboration and cooperation. First, at the national level, concerned agencies and the Armed Forces conduct checkpoints and visibility patrols. Second, the National Action Plan on Small & Light Weapons is being finalized. Third, the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security is being pursued for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions. Lastly, we are considering a measure published by the UN Institute for Disarmament Research.
“Regional and International cooperation are demonstrated by various activities, such as information exchange between ASEANAPOL and INTERPOL. Joint patrols with Malaysia and Indonesia. And regular reports to UN POA since 2003. With a grant from ATT, we conducted the Training Course on Licensing, Investigation and Enforcement last February 2018.
“For this Third Review Conference on Small/Light Weapons, the Philippines reiterates that the capacity of states to implement the provisions of the Programme of Action is key.
“Priorities for the Philippines are as follows: Repeating our call to states and international and regional organizations to extend more technical and financial help in capacity building, training of law enforcement agents, and conduct public awareness programs on the problems caused by the illicit trade.
“However, the Philippines stresses that this process of providing assistance must not be politicized. No intervention on law enforcement will be tolerated. The methods of keeping the peace and enforcing the law is first, foremost and exclusive to the state concerned; particularly in a climate where organized crime has the capability, particularly the financial means, to influence international policy.
“Second, there is a need to strengthen the end-user instrument by developing an international template for this documentation to reduce arms diversion. Third, the marking that determines the authenticity of firearms should be improved to ensure proper tracing.
“Additionally, the Philippines stresses the importance of sharing good practices including the conduct of open forum discussions to address concerns on the proliferation of illicit trade of firearms. The Philippines assures you, Mr. President, of our full support. Thank you.”
Clear as a bell and essentially tells the EU and Canada where exactly to shove their arms trade. Don’t you think?