SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV urged his colleagues on Friday to prioritize a bill seeking to impose stricter controls on transfers of “dual-use goods and technologies” or “strategic goods” to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Dual-use goods and technologies or strategic goods are items which can be used for peaceful means, as well as to build WMD like chemicals used to make make-up, fertilizers, or high explosives.

“Terrorist networks have learned to take advantage of the global economic, information and telecommunications networks in pursuing their objectives. Even the goods we use daily can be utilized in the development and production of weapons of mass destruction (WMD),” said Trillanes, chairman of the Senate national defense and security committee.

Trillanes, author of Senate Bill 2672, said the government should be able to avert the propagation of WMD, noting that more countries are doubling their efforts as regards to nuclear and global securities.

Under the proposed Strategic Trade Management Act, a National Strategic Goods List will be created which describes with specificity the strategic goods subject to control and authorization.

A National Security Council – Strategic Trade Management Committee (NSC-STMC) will also be formed to act as a central authority on all matters relating to strategic trade management, particularly focusing on the country’s international commitment towards the promotion of a secure and safe environment for trade in strategic goods.

A Strategic Trade Management Office (STMO) will also be activated to serve as the executive and technical agency of the national government to handle the national management systems for the trade in strategic goods.

Any person who intends to engage in the export, import, transit and transhipment of strategic goods or the provision of related services will be required to obtain an authorization from STMO.

A fine from P1 million to P5 million and imprisonment from six years and one day to 12 years will be imposed to any person who will be engaged in any activity prohibited by the NSC-STMC.

Any person who will fail to report or notify the STMO or will fail to comply with the requirements will be imprisoned from six months and one day to six years and will have to pay a fine of P100,000 to P1 million.

“Without the proper legislation in place that would prevent proliferation of WMD, we risk the destruction of lives and properties and the security of our country should the same fall in the wrong hands. We also risk involving our country in terroristic acts and schemes through the transfer of materials across our borders. Hence, we need to pass this measure,” Trillanes said.

The Philippines is a signatory to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 which obliges all UN-member states to have and enforce measures against proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and their delivery systems. (Sunnex)