MAKATI CITYDuring the Official Launch of the Strategic Trade Management Office (STMO) e-Licensing Platform, Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual highlighted the importance of efficiently managing the trade of strategic goods and maintaining peace and security. He further emphasized that the management of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), as well as other arms proliferation challenges are part of the Philippines’ obligation to the international community in pursuing peace and security. 

“Confronting these challenges effectively is critical to protecting our country’s national security, foreign policy, international commitments, and most importantly, our people, our environment, and our allies. WMDs are weapons that can cause widespread damage to human and animal life, infrastructure, and the environment; they also evoke terror in the population. They can be nuclear and radiological, biological, or chemical,” Secretary Pascual said. 

By virtue of Republic Act No. 10697 or the Strategic Trade Management Act of 2015, the National Security Council – Strategic Trade Management Committee (NSC-STMCom) was established. The Committee is mandated to manage the trade of strategic goods and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. Further, the Committee is tasked to maintain international peace and security and promote economic growth by facilitating international trade through the responsible management of strategic goods and the provision of related services. 

The DTI-STMO was granted IT infrastructure support from the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (US DTRA) through the Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement (CTRA) between the United States and the Philippines. The e-Licensing Platform establishes a one-stop-shop of all strategic trade-related services accessible 24/7 by all stakeholders, making transactions more efficient, transparent, and secure. 

Relative to this, Secretary Pascual also said that “It is expected that with this infrastructure, the awareness and compliance of industries with the STMA will significantly increase, which, in turn, will improve the Philippines’ implementation of its international obligations.” 

Likewise, the e-Licensing Platform forms part of the Marcos Administration’s current policy thrust to digitalize all government transactions, thereby eliminating red tape, promoting ease of doing business, and preventing corruption. Furthermore, the platform provides easy and secure access, retrieval, and sharing of data and information for STMO and partner government agencies (GAs). 

In closing, Secretary Pascual said “In the face of these challenges, the Philippines intends to take the lead in implementing strategic trade policies for the non-proliferation of threats in the region. We reiterate our commitment to strengthening the supply chain of strategic goods. We shall continue to defend and enhance an international rules-based order and ensure that goods capable of being used as weapons of mass destruction are traded only with those who intent to use them for peace.” 

The STMO e-Licensing Platform Launch was also attended by Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ireneo V. Vizmonte,  Department of Justice Undersecretary Jesse Andres, National Security Council Undersecretary Marlo Guloy, DTI Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty, DTI-STMO Director Atty. Janice Sacedon-Dimayacyac, Department of Foreign Affairs Director Jan Michael Gomez, other government representatives, and private sector partners and stakeholders, including Black and Veatch, IBM Solutions Delivery, Inc., Infineon, Microchip, and Analog Devices Philippines. *

Date of release: 20 February 2023