Binay: PHL to take steps in strengthening nuclear security to protect OFWs

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

VICE President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday said that despite the Philippines not having nuclear materials, the Philippines must take steps in strengthening nuclear security as a means to ensure the protection of the 10 million or so Filipinos living and working abroad.

"Therefore, even if we do not have nuclear materials that may be turned into a nuclear weapon, but because of our migrant population, an act of nuclear terrorism, with its potential to inflict widespread and long-term devastation, will inevitably affect my countrymen," said Binay.

"This makes nuclear security a real, relevant and pressing concern for us," he added.

The Vice President in his plenary statement at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague, Netherlands, revealed to the 53 world leaders present that with the help of other nations and organizations the Philippines has made progress in its efforts to improve nuclear security.

"This is why the Philippines places so much importance on mechanisms for international cooperation and technical assistance," he said.

Binay reassured the international community that the Philippines will continue to work closely with other nations in ensuring that nuclear materials will not be used by terrorists to wreak havoc.

The Vice President represented President Benigno Aquino III in the biennial summit that seeks to lock up nuclear materials and preventing their use by terrorists. He also represented the president in the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea.

He said that the country's nuclear security infrastructure and technical capacities have improved, and that the country is "moving towards establishing a more security-conscious culture for those stakeholders responsible for radioactive and nuclear material."

"We are working to improve our emergency response and mitigation capacities by establishing planning and coordination mechanisms," he added.

"Even as I speak, those with nefarious designs are continuing to probe the weakest links in our collective security chain, waiting for their chance to strike at the most vulnerable and the most complacent. The Philippines is doing its best not to become this weak link."

"The Philippines reaffirms its commitment and solidarity with the international community in making sure that all nuclear and radiological materials will never be used for evil ends," he said.

He also said that the country is strengthening the nuclear security legal framework through the enactment of local legislation and the ratification of relevant international instruments.

The Vice President also recognized the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in the country's nuclear security efforts, and expressed support for efforts to strengthen the agency "and enable it to fulfill its mandate more robustly."

"It has been a valuable partner of the Philippines for decades now, providing guidance and assistance in our nuclear security and safety initiatives," he said. (Jun M. Sarmiento/Sunnex)

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