Signing the global Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters on Wednesday, September 25, 2013, made the Philippines first among the Southeast Asian Country to do so.
This is the first ever Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that launched common international standards for the global trade in conventional arms.
Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations, did the honor of signing the Treaty on behalf of the Philippine Government.
In a statement, Ambassador Cabactulan said that the Philippines signed the ATT to fulfill the country’s commitment to promote international peace and security.
He also added that the proliferation of conventional arms has contributed to vehemence and instability in many parts of the world including the Philippines and there is a need to address this serious concern.
The ATT was opened for signature on June 3, 2013, and will enter into force after 50 ratifications.
The ATT comprises conventional weapons intended for military use and small arms, their ammunition, parts and components. The UN defines conventional arms as tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missile systems and rocket launchers.
Earlier to its implementation, the Philippines consistently voted in favor of the ATT since it was first tabled in the General Assembly in 2006. The Philippines voted in favor of the text of the ATT.
Subsequently on a seven-year process at the United Nations, the Treaty text was adopted through a resolution by the UN General Assembly on April 2, 2013, by a vote of 154 in favor, three against and 23 abstentions.
The Philippines took part in the process leading to the adoption of the ATT including the four Preparatory Meeting of the Arms Trade Treaty (2010-2012), the July 2012 Negotiating Conference and the Final Conference in March 2013.
The UN Global Arms Trade Report believed the treaty is expected to foster peace and security “by putting a stop to destabilizing arms flows to conflict regions.”
Furthermore, the UN added that it will prevent human rights abusers and violators of the law of war from being supplied with arms, and will help keep warlords, pirates, and gangs from procuring these deadly weapons.
In the Philippines however, the decade old Moro separatist struggle in the south, as well as the more than four decades-old communist insurgency has contributed to the increase of firearms and weapons.
Presently, the total number of signatures is 112 — more than half of all Member States.