July 3, 2011

Philippines backs international initiatives against biological weapons

MANILA, June 28 (PIA) -- Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said the Philippines is supporting multilateral efforts to thwart the catastrophic potential of biological weapons and warned that the use of instruments of destruction to harm humans remains a global threat.

Speaking at the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Conference Week for East Asia and the Pacific held in Makati City Monday night, Ochoa said the Aquino administration is committed to initiatives by foreign governments and international organizations to fight the proliferation of biological weapons and make the world safer.

“It is no comfort,” Ochoa said, “that man’s capacity for invention was for good and for bad. And while we have inventions that enhance health, vigor and longevity, there are equal number of inventions that have greater and varied capacities to inflict harm or bring death to humans and all living things.”

“Shall we surrender our optimism to the proliferation of biological pathogens of destruction? We definitely are not giving up. We are fighting for the very survival of humankind itself,” said Ochoa, head of the Cabinet cluster on security, justice and peace.

But with the help of the United Nations (UN) and the increasing number of organizations and group of experts that will monitor, regulate and control biological weapons, it brings assurance that the situation will be turned around, the Executive Secretary explained.

The Philippines is hosting a regional workshop for countries from East Asia and the Pacific until July 1 in preparation for the upcoming Biological Weapons Convention 7th Review Conference and the Biosecurity and Biosafety cooperation scheduled before the end of the year.

Representatives from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, the United States, Canada, the European Union, Norway and the UN, as well as members of the academe and scientific institutions are participating in the conference.

According to Ochoa, the conference augurs well for the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), which he also chairs, as it pursues protective, control and defensive initiatives concerning chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN)weapons and forms of warfare. Part of ATC's mandate is to enforce the BWC, an international agreement signed by the Philippines along with other countries banning the development, production and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons for purposes of aggression.

Source: PIA