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Constitutional Commission Unanimously Approves Anti-Nuclear Proposal

September 19, 1986

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ A government commission today unanimously accepted an article opposing nuclear weapons on Philippine soil as part of a new constitution being drafted for ratification this year.

The Constitutional Commission, 26-0, accepted a proposal stating that the Philippines, ″consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in the (national) territory.″

The other 21 members of the commission were not present at the meeting. Manila newspapers had reported broad support on the panel for a declaration opposing nuclear weapons here.

Adolfo Azcuna, one of the members of a commission panel that drafted the measure approved today, said it applies only to nuclear weapons and their components.

Some commission members had first supported a provision declaring the Philippines a ″nuclear-free country,″ which would have prohibited U.S. nuclear-powered warships from calling at ports here, including the U.S. naval base at Subic Bay.

The Philippine armed forces has no nuclear weapons, and the United States as a matter of policy has refused to say whethe it stockpiles such weaponry at the five military bases, including Subic Bay, it maintains in the country.

Commission members said it would be the responsibility of the Philippine government to ensure that the ban on nuclear arms is respected once the constitution goes into effect.

″It’s up to the government to implement and enforce this,″ said commissioner Ed Garcia. ″It will depend on the government’s political will.″

The decision came one day after the 47-member commission reached a compromise on the controversial issue of U.S. bases, agreeing to allow foreign military installations if their presence is approved under a formal treaty ratified by the Senate and subject to national referendum.

The lease on the U.S. bases expires in 1991.

President Corazon Aquino wants to submit the new constitution to voters this year and call national elections by March, about a year after her installation as head of state following the civilian-military revolt that forced Ferdinand E. Marcos, then president, into exile.

Mrs. Aquino is on a nine-day U.S. tour.

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