27 January 2021, Quezon City. The waste and pollution watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition has expressed support for Senate concurrence in the government‘s ratification of a global agreement banning nuclear weapons.
Last Thursday, January 21, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, as Chair of the Committee on Foreign Relations, submitted proposed Senate Resolution 620 concurring in the Philippine ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
The treaty, which President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ratified on November 18, 2020, prohibits countries from producing, testing, acquiring, possessing or stockpiling nuclear weapons. It also bans the transfer of the weapons and forbids signatories from allowing any nuclear explosive device to be stationed, installed or deployed in their territory.
“We support our nation’s stance illegalizing nuclear weapons and urge all countries, especially the world’s nuclear powers, to do the same as well,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
The treaty entered into force on 22 January 2021 after being ratified by at least 50 countries.
“Even as we did not make it to the first 50 countries that ratified the treaty, the anticipated Senate concurrence in its ratification will reinforce the state policy for a country and, by extension, a world, free of nuclear weapons,” she said.
The group cited Article II, Section 8 of the Constitution stating that “the Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.”
While delighted with the country’s imminent ratification of the anti-nuclear weapons treaty, the EcoWaste Coalition pushed the government anew to also ratify the Basel Convention Ban Amendment, which entered into force on December 5, 2019.
The said amendment to the Basel Convention, adopted by countries to the said treaty in 1995, bans the export of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries for reuse, recycling, disposal or recovery operations.
“Ratifying the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and imposing a national ban on waste importation will be our best legal protection against the nasty dumping into our shores of rubbish, including electronic, plastic and household wastes, from overseas,” said Lucero.
“Like the treaty banning nuclear weapons, the Basel Convention Ban Amendment is now an international law and we see no compelling reason for delaying further our country’s ratification of this agreement, which is in defense of the national interest and in sync with the president’s strong position against foreign waste dumping,” she concluded.