Forging a New Philippine Foreign Policy (FNPFP) features research papers, commentaries, analyses, and updates on different Philippine foreign-policy related news, covering the country's relations with various and regions of the world.  A project by the Asian Center, it also publishes a monitor on upcoming, ongoing, or recently concluded researches, publications, and events such as lectures and conferences sponsored by various institutions. FNPFP is also part of a research program, Thematic Assessment of Philippine Foreign Relations, funded by the University of the Philippines Diliman. Scroll below to see the latest commentaries. 


Enforcing the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty

Written by Roland Sumbulan on .

TWENTY years have passed since the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty (SEA-NWFZT) was signed, on Dec. 15, 1995 in Bangkok by all the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN. Designated as the "Bangkok Treaty", the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty was entered into force (EIF) on March 28, 1997.

The first Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty after the Cold War, the Bangkok Treaty is considered a model for regional de-nuclearization. According to Dr. Hiro Umebayashi, Director of the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition of Nagasaki University, this is because "it applies not just to territories but includes in its coverage Exclusive Economic Zones and Continental Shelves." It also prohibits the dumping or discharge of radioactive material or nuclear waste in its area of coverage. This is why, predictably, even today, all the five Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) which include Russia, the U.S., China, U.K. and France refuse to sign its Protocols. But are the states of Southeast Asia, genuine Nuclear Weapons-Free states today?

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2016 Elections and the Philippines’ Sabah Claim

Written by Ricardo Roy Lopez on .

In Philippine politics, as in other countries, a change of administration can result in various alterations of policy. Given the upcoming 2016 Philippine national elections, a change in the leadership has the potential to influence the way the Philippines pursues its Sabah claim. Candidates wishing to differentiate themselves from the administration have released statements that they deem to be contrary to the ruling coalition’s policies, which now define the official position of the country towards the Sabah claim. While systemic constraints such as allocation of resources, balance of power, geography, etc. all contribute to foreign policy decisions, the role of individuals, more specifically elected officials, should also be considered. This position is best supported by Daniel L. Byman and Kenneth M. Pollack in their work entitled, “Let Us Now Praise Great Men: Bringing the Statesmen Back In,” wherein they were able to describe Hitler’s influence in Germany’s conduct during the Second World War [1] as opposed to the perception that such could purely be understood by analyzing at the systemic level. 


Harmonizing Guidelines for Maritime Actions: An Imperative for the Philippines

Written by Lucio Pitlo on .

As an archipelago, the unity of the islands and the waters surrounding the same is a fundamental tenet for the Philippines. Having one of the world's longest coastlines and possessing a huge expanse of maritime domain to include its Exclusive Economic Zone and Extended Continental Shelf, safeguarding its seas and managing its marine resources long constitute a major challenge for the Philippine government. Aside from this geographical given, domestic and regional factors also put pressure on efforts to police these waters. To this end, harmonizing guidelines for maritime actions can be seen as one positive step to improve enforcement of Philippine maritime laws and regulations.