Senate OKs resolution to ratify treaty banning nukes on 2nd reading
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Wednesday adopted on second reading a resolution that would express the chamber’s concurrence in the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
No senator objected when Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri moved to adopt Senate Resolution No. 620, expressing the Senate’s concurrence to the ratification of the international pact.
The Senate is expected to approve the resolution on the final reading next Monday.
The treaty prohibits state parties from “developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons; assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in said activities; and allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed, installed or deployed in their respective territories.”
“This mechanism can be likened to the effects of ‘herd immunity’—a term which we now know and understand—that if enough States are resistant to nuclear weapon use, its abuse and disuse have no more place to go,” Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, chair of the Senate foreign relations panel, said in endorsing the resolution for plenary approval.
“And while not every single State is immune to nuclear use, the community of nations as a whole has protection,” he added.
According to Pimentel, countries which could potentially be affected by nuclear weapons use and testing “have much to gain from the TPNW’s provisions on victim assistance and environmental remediation.”
Before the chamber approved the resolution on second reading, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon questioned why the five nuclear power states—United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China—are not signatory to the treaty.
To date, at least 52 countries have ratified the pact, Pimentel noted.
“They are the ones in possession of nuclear weapons. The five permanent members of the United Nations, which have nuclear weapons, are not bound by this treaty,” Drilon said.
Pimentel explained that under the treaty, the five nuclear power states are not allowed to ask a signatory state for the use of its territory or area under its jurisdiction for the transit as well as the temporary storage and travel of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.
“I borrowed the concept of herd immunity to show that the nuclear power states are now surrounded by countries which are signatory to this treaty calling for the prohibition of nuclear weapons and we strengthen such a call if we because the treaty is now in effect,” Pimentel said.
“So in effect, dahan-dahan nating pinapakita na we are not cooperating with any activity related to nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices,” he added.
Adopted during a United Nations conference on July 7, 2017, the treaty was signed by then Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on September 20, 2017.
President Rodrigo Duterte ratified the treaty more than three years later, on November 18, 2020, and then submitted it to the Senate for concurrence.
The 1987 Constitution requires concurrence by at least two-thirds of the 24-member Senate before any international agreement that the Philippines signs become binding.
Subscribe to our global nation newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.