As part of the “100 Days of Speaking Out!”, a countdown to the treaty negotiations, Control Arms will regularly feature stories and profiles of different people who support a bulletproof ATT

Around 80 people, mostly women dressed in black, gathered in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila today to call on the Philippine government to support a strong, gender-responsive Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Participants were from the Women Engaged in Action on 1325 and from the Philippine Action Network to Control Arms led by the Center for Peace Education, Amnesty International, GZO Peace Institute and Pax Christi-Miriam College.

Representatives of the group were allowed to enter the Department of Foreign Affairs to meet with officers of the United Nations and International Organizations Office (UNIO) in particular, Executive Director Kira Azucena. Jasmin Nario-Galace of the Center for Peace Education and WE Act 1325 handed over to Dir. Kira a letter for President Benigno Aquino III, as well as lists of signatures from parliamentarians, interfaith leaders and women’s groups declaring support for a robust Arms Trade Treaty. She also handed a bundle of bananas to Dir. Kira to raise the point that if there are global rules regulating the trade in bananas, there should be a treaty, as well for the trade in weapons as 2, 000 people die from armed violence in both conflict and non-conflict situations everyday. Dr. Aurora Parong of Amnesty International-Pilipinas, current Chair of the Philippine Action Network to Control Arms also handed over a list of signatures from supporters across sectors including supporters from local government units.

Dir. Kira said that the government is leaning towards supporting an ATT in July and committed to raising the specific lobby points articulated by the group to the President and to government agencies deciding on the Philippine government’s position on the ATT.

The ATT diplomatic negotiations in July 2012 will decide if an Arms Trade Treaty meant to regulate the flow of arms in the global market will be adopted.