Stop the War Coalition -Philippines Statement on Global Military Spending


APRIL 25, 2024

References: Dj Janier (09336412694), Mercy Angeles (09063677594)

Stop the War Coalition Philippines joins the call to demilitarize as global military spending rises for the ninth consecutive year

Wars and military conflicts devastate entire portions of the planet. According to SIPRI estimates, global military spending climbed by 19% between 2013 and 2022 and has risen annually since 2015. Particularly for 2023, for the ninth year in a row, there has been a 6.8 percent increase in spending in real terms from 2022, with the world spending roughly $2443 billion US dollars. This is apparent in all five regions, with considerable rises in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East.

For the Philippines, military spending has been steadily on the rise in recent years with the latest figures showing that we spent USD 3.965 Million or around 35 dollars per capita (source: Around 500 million USD in Foreign Military Financing from the United States is earmarked for the country. This is part of the 8 billion USD emergency aid package for Indo-Pacific allies under the Indo-Pacific Supplemental Appropriations Act that was approved by the United States House of Representatives. This in turn was part of an even bigger 95B USD package that will send aid to other US allies like Israel and Ukraine.

However, from Gaza to Ukraine, the DRC, Sudan, Myanmar, and Manipur, such spending has done nothing to resolve ongoing conflicts or lessen global tensions. Instead, rising military spending and militarism have only exacerbated the instability of global peace and collaboration.

Meanwhile, rising temperatures are altering climate patterns in fundamental and dramatic ways. Millions of people are already suffering from the devastating effects of climate change and environmental degradation, which are exacerbated by violent conflict. We must act now since every peso we spend on weapons is a peso less for our future and to address the very real impact of an ongoing climate emergency.   

These changing weather and climatic patterns have a direct impact on whether areas can stay habitable, as well as the future of decent and sustainable living circumstances for everyone.

When All You Have Is a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail

Even in this new era of multipolarity, global leaders are increasingly reliant on militarized solutions. We are made to believe that military spending is a requirement for preserving all aspects of security. Meanwhile, a vast network of interests and worldwide power has formed, dominated by a small number of supranational private actors who control corporations and exert influence over governments in an undemocratic manner. It is a global power network that connects military and fossil energy companies.

A network in which militarization not only kills hundreds of thousands of people but also plays an important role in environmental disasters by defending fossil fuel interests and predatory players. A network that works directly and indirectly to prevent steps that could help alleviate both the global environmental catastrophe and the misery of millions of people. A network that is not afraid to benefit from arms sales to genocidal actors, as seen by Israel’s continued military attacks on Gaza. We need to ensure democratic power around the world.

Military spending not only fuels wars and violent conflicts around the world, but it also diverts resources that could be used to address climate change, invest in global justice (including the UN Sustainable Development Goals), and promote peaceful conflict resolution and disarmament. Militaries are among the world’s largest fuel consumers, accounting for 5.5% of global emissions, and the usage of chemicals pollutes the soil surrounding military facilities, polluting it for centuries. The continuing use of mines, cluster munitions, and conventional weapons makes land unusable for years. The opportunity cost of military spending costs us the planet.

We understand that humanity’s contemporary challenges (wars and conflicts, climatic crises, social crises, democratic crises, pandemics, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and many others) are global and transboundary. These issues necessitate a collaborative and coordinated effort that can only be met by forming new alliances across a diverse range of players – from civil society to international institutions, nations, businesses, and peoples – to finance and establish justice, peace, and human rights for the world.

Together, we must advocate for global common or communal security, based on trust, cooperation, and solidarity. Reducing military spending is an essential first step and the finest opportunity to foster peace and establish a sustainable world with dignity for all.

To this end

We urge governments to minimize military spending and instead focus on serious global crises that demand all available resources. We must speak out against the military-industrial complex’s hidden interests and pressures.

We demand genuine efforts toward global disarmament, the abolition of the weapons trade, and the cessation of arms supplies to conflict zones. It is time for the UNGA to commit to a definite date and structure for the Fourth Special Session on Disarmament, emphasizing that the last session was 36 years ago and that nations have failed to fulfill their responsibility and duty to pursue disarmament through the United Nations framework.

We urge governments to prioritize justice over profits from arms sales; especially, we urge countries to stop supplying and purchasing armaments from Israel and to utilize all available methods to advocate for a ceasefire and an end to the genocide in Gaza.

We urge a real and active discussion on new and responsive international and regional security architectures based on the fundamental concepts of common security and UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ New Agenda for Peace. From Gaza to Sudan to Myanmar, conflicts will not be resolved through armed methods. We advocate for a global ceasefire; the logic of peace must triumph over the logic of war.

We advocate for new geopolitics that abandons war and violence in favor of global governance systems built on cooperation and conversation. A new post-violence period must emerge, built on a culture of peace, feminist ideals, and dialogue-based conflict resolution.

We urge countries to act now. A real decarbonization strategy is urgently required. We also condemn the major fossil-fuel corporations that have hijacked and co-opted global governments.

We urge civil society at the local, national, regional, and international levels to join forces in the campaign to combat the rising trend of military spending, strengthen the global movement for peace and justice, and challenge decision-makers who seek to justify perpetual militarism in the name of our security.  #####

About Solidarity to Oppose Wars Coalition-Philippines

Solidarity to Oppose Wars Coalition Philippines (Stop the War! Coalition-Philippines), is a multisectoral coalition of Philippines-based social movements, trade unions, women’s organizations, non-government organizations, political parties, student formations, people’s organizations, human rights organizations, faith-based groups, and other concerned organizations and individuals. 

It calls for an end to all wars of aggression, the escalating threats of militarization, and manifestations of military intervention. It also opposes any form of Philippine participation in these illegal and immoral activities.