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PH, US tackle threat from weapons of mass destruction

November 4, 2022 Cristina Lee-Pisco 309 views

THE U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) met with Philippine government agencies to identify the country’s needs and gaps in preventing the illegal movement of parts or substances that can be used as components of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), particularly missiles, biological weapons, or chemical weapons.

Officials from DTRA’s Strategic Offensive Arms Elimination (SOAE) team held individual meetings with 14 government agencies involved in trade and customs, science and technology, and law enforcement to learn more about the local procedures in place to monitor, identify, and eliminate illicit materials of concern transiting through the Philippines.

Through this needs and gap analysis, DTRA aims to assist the country in developing and adopting streamlined national processes and standards for the safe and effective identification, handling, and disposal of these illicit goods and substances.

“We are proud to engage with the Philippines to strengthen regional and global efforts against the proliferation of WMD-capable missile delivery systems and their components, as well as biological and chemical weapon precursors,” SOAE International Project Officer Alex Bednarek said.

“The openness and collaborative spirit of the Philippines has allowed us to envision a clear path forward to address the spread of WMDs.”

“With the goal of preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the Department of Trade and Industry-Strategic Trade Management Office (DTI-STMO) has been working hand in hand with other government agencies to build an effective and strong export control system in the Philippines. We recognize the crucial role interagency coordination and cooperation plays to ensure the fulfillment of this mission,” DTI-STMO OIC-Director Janice Sacedon-Dimayayac said.

“We acknowledge the support and assistance from our development partners from the United States, especially DTRA. These engagements opened a lot of opportunities for collaboration between the Philippines and the United States to address gaps and cultivate an enabling strategic trade regulatory environment that not only ensures global peace but also promotes sustainable economic growth and robust international trade.”

From October 3 to 14, DTRA’s SOAE team met with representatives of the DTI-STMO, the Philippines Port Authority, the National Coast Watch Center, the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine Space Agency, the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of National Defense, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police, the Department of Agriculture–Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, and the Department of Science and Technology.

The team also conducted site visits to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Port of Manila, and the Manila International Container Port.