Santiago warns: ‘Severe damage’ to PH if Korean row worsens


Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines– Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Tuesday warned of “severe damage” that the Philippines could suffer from nuclear warfare should the situation in the Korean peninsula escalate.

As a non-nuclear-weapon state, Santiago said the Philippines would still suffer severe damage from nuclear warfare either directly by the blast effects or indirectly by local or “long-distance fallout.”

“Because nuclear weapons produce blast effect and release a fireball of extremely high temperature, the Philippine environment could be degraded for generations,” she said in a statement.

“In our country, residual radiation could cause severe damage to human health, such as leukemia, congenital defects and mental retardation. A nuclear winter would create dust clouds absorbing the sunlight, dropping temperatures, and damaging agriculture in wide areas of our country,” she pointed out.

Hence, Santiago said, the Philippines should clarify that as with other rules of humanitarian law, the duty to respect the ingetrity of neutral states applies to all types of warfare.

She said North Korea would fall under the duty to justify the use of particularly destructive weapons if they would seriously affect neutral countries like the Philippines.

“The consequences entailed by unjustified use will be governed by the law of state responsibility,” said the senator.

However, Santiago said there was no treaty, which provided the rules expressly governing the use of nuclear weapons in combat.

Present treaties, she said, dealt only with “manufacturing, testing,possession, proliferation, deployment, limitation, and reduction of nuclear arms.

Santiago said even customary international law did not limit the armaments levels of a state.

Nevertheless, she pointed out that international law  prohibited “unnecessary suffering.”

If North Korea uses the atomic bomb, Santiago said it would become liable in international law under the principle of states responsibility and international humanitarian law.

“If the North Korea nuclear strike hits Philippine civilian population and cannot be justified, the nuclear strike might constitute grave breach of humanitarian law,” she said.

“Hence, under international law, North Korea would assume the duty to pay reparations, which can amount to extreme proportions.”

The use of the atomic bomb, Santiago said, may also qualify as war crimes and as crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Santiago has been elected as one of the judges in the ICC.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • bongwater420

    we know of the “damage”, so what is the plan?? maybe the chinese can help us out since congress hates America

  • delpillar

    Well, the good thing is that if war begins, that will be the beginning of the end of North Korea. This will be called as the 2nd Korean War and the Last Korean War. No more BLACK SHEEP in the world after that.

    There will be no missile that will reach the Philippines (even if NK have it) because the war will be massive and all the infrastructures of North Korea will be gone in the first 4 hours in which after 24 hours of shooting war with US/South-Korea, all that would be left in North Korea are INFANTRY ATTACK only.

    North Korea knew the power of the USA both conventional weaponry (the largest in the world) and strategic/nuclear weaponry. North Korea will never use nuclear.

    They knew that during the Cuban crisis in 1962, the world stood still for one-week, with super-fast palpitations of heart when 1/3 of the US Nuclear warheads (about 8,000 pieces) were up in the air at any given time ready to strike the Soviet Union. About 200 nuclear war heads were also in submarine ready to strike the soviet union. All those nuclear warheads in the air and under the sea were no longer in control of the US President JFK. The only instruction were that once nuclear missile from the enemy hit the US territory and her allies, all those detonation-ready nuclear bombs would strike the Soviet at the same time. Never under estimate the resolve of the USA when She is threatened. KIM JUNG-UN has full-knowledge of this.

    Kim knew that no one can ever threatened the US Air Force let alone the US Navy.
    The billions of dollars in research, when revealed, if ever revealed, is
    very VERY SCARY, new weapons and weapon system ahead of our time. How much
    more when US Navy research is added.

    • Сергей Зверев

      ***The only instruction were that once nuclear missile from the enemy hit
      the US territory and her allies, all those detonation-ready nuclear
      bombs would strike the Soviet at the same time

      If there had been full scale war, there would have been no winners or losers. And you write about it like twas something glorious about hitting USSR. That would be just the end of the world for all Earth population.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks




latest videos