By Marielle Joy Opana
Representatives of Philippines and U.S. governments tackled ways to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) during the first bilateral Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) engagement held last June 27-28 in the Philippines.
“The challenges in preventing WMD proliferation are not getting any easier, with bad actors seeking to acquire dual-use materials to advance their WMD or missile programs, disguising the transactions, and using front companies to hide the end users. We are pleased that the Government of the Philippines partnered with us to explore these issues and to demonstrate their continued commitment to PSI’s Statement of Interdiction Principles,” Andrea Yaffe, the U.S. lead for the event, said in a statement.
“PSI is an area of increased cooperative engagement, not only between the U.S. and Philippine government, but also with other PSI partner countries as we perform our international obligations under the UN Security Council mandates,” MGen Danilo M. Servando (Ret), the Head of Philippine delegation, said in his opening statement.
PSI is an international cooperative effort supported by 105 countries to counter the threats and to end trafficking in WMD, including their delivery systems and related materials to and from State and non-state actors of proliferation concern.
Nearly 20 representatives coming from different Philippine government sectors and four from U.S. government participated in the discussion spearheaded by the Philippines Anti-Terrorism Council-Program Management Center and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Each participating state decides whether and how to engage in PSI activities on a case-by-case basis.
Participating countries showed their commitment to the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles by undertaking actions consistently with their national legal authorities and pertinent international law and legal frameworks.
Participants reviewed the national and international legal authorities that allow WMD interdictions and discussed challenges in countering the proliferation of these weapons for mass destruction when minimal data is available, among other related issues.