On March 24, 2022, the Philippines deposited its Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) instrument of ratification to the United Nations Secretariat in New York, becoming the 111th State Party to the Treaty.
The Philippines also became the first ASEAN state to join the ATT. This was made possible after the Philippines completed its national ratification process with the Senate’s adoption of a resolution in support of the Treaty on 26 January 2022.
The illicit trade and proliferation of arms and ammunition continue to pose a significant challenge to peace and security in the Philippines and the Southeast Asian region. In a tweet posted by the Philippine Mission in New York, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin, Jr. stated that the ATT ratification is in line with the Philippines’ commitment to
“ensure international and regional peace, security, and stability through the regulation of the illicit transfer, flow or diversion of conventional arms using internationally agreed standards.”
The Treaty will officially enter into force for the Philippines on 22 June 2022, exactly 90 days after the instrument of ratification was deposited at the UN. However, its statement at the First ATT Working Group and CSP8 Preparatory Meetings, the Philippines announced that it has already begun preparations to incorporate the ATT into domestic legislation and to submit its ATT initial report.
In 2013, when the Treaty opened for signature, the Philippines was the first Southeast Asian country to do so. In the succeeding years there have been continuous efforts to harmonize national laws and build national capacity for the robust implementation of the ATT in the country. Since 2015, the Philippines benefited from ATT implementation support through the European Union Outreach Programme, a program funded by the European Union and implemented by the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) which provides technical support to non-EU countries to develop and/or strengthen their export control systems.
The Philippines’ ratification of the ATT can serve as an example for the six ASEAN have signed the Treaty but have not yet ratified it: Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. This momentous occasion can also serve as an opportunity for the Phillipines to play a leading role in supporting the universality of the Treaty in the sub-region. In fact, in 2020, The Philippines hosted a sub-regional seminar discussing incentives of ATT ratification and treaty implementation in ASEAN countries. Six other ASEAN states, Brunei, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, and Viet Nam, have yet to join the Treaty.
Control Arms and its members and partners in the Southeast Asian region, stand ready to support the Philippines in implementing the ATT and in promoting its universalization.