Press Release
January 27, 2021


It is my honor to co-sponsor Committee Report 162, or the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Friends and comrades know that I trace the early awakenings of my activism to the cause of nuclear disarmament. In my second year in high school at Saint Scholastica's College Manila, Mommy brought me to a symposium of the Nuclear Free Philippines Coalition, which changed my life. I formed an organization called the Nuclear Disarmament Group in St. Scho, at mula doon, ay tuloy tuloy na.

I understand that the TPNW is globally-polarizing. The 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - incidentally also the 5 nuclear weapons states recognized by the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, namely the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France and China - are united in their opposition of the treaty. Many have also questioned the efficacy and legitimacy of the TPNW, considering its non-acceptance by the nuclear armed states and possible tensions with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

To my mind, however, the question of nuclear weapons is an existential one. To quote the ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), these weapons have humanitarian and environmental consequences that span decades and cross generations. In fact, the nuclear bomb has been called the greatest moral problem of all time and the most destructive, inhumane instruments of war ever created.

Even without the support of the nuclear powers, the TPNW is groundbreaking and a step in the direction of creating an international norm of conduct. With 86 nations signing it and 52 so far ratifying it - perhaps we will be the 52nd - the collective voice of humanity is clear: nuclear weapons should be banned forever, as we have banned landmines and biological and chemical weapons.

I want to end with a quote from Pope Francis on the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing in August 2020: "It has never been clearer that, for peace to flourish, all people need to lay down the weapons of war, and especially the most powerful and destructive of weapons: nuclear arms that can cripple and destroy whole cities, whole countries."

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