MANILA, Philippines — Several groups have called anew for the strong enforcement of the 2016 arbitral ruling.
The group Citizens Alliance for Life and the Law of the Sea (CALL of the Sea) called on the Duterte Administration to strongly implement the arbitral ruling regarding the West Philippine Sea. The 2016 arbitral ruling affirmed the Philippines’ territorial claims in the South China Sea against China’s claims.
“What we must now need, moving forward is for us Filipinos and national leaders to speak as one with a clear unmistakable, consistent and emphatic voice on the enforcement of the arbitral award,” according to Atty. Joey Lina, convener of CALL of the Sea.
According to 1Sambayan led by its convener, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, only Filipinos have the right to the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“The constitution expressly declares the stay, the use of reserves and enjoyment of the nations marine wealth in its exclusive economic zone solely to Filipino citizens, clearly the president has no power to allow Chinese fishermen to fish in our exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea,
Former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Dr. Albert Del Rosario also said that President Rodrigo Duterte betrayed the constitution due to his previous statements regarding the West Philippine Sea.
“Last May 10, 2021, the President claimed his pledge to will ride a jet ski to the Spratlys, plant the Philippine flag there was a pure campaign joke. calling those who believed him as being stupid. This episode contributes to a widening belief among our countrymen that President Duterte betrayed the constitution he swore to uphold, and consequently betrayed his countrymen who rely on him to protect the West Philippine sea,” he said.
Meanwhile, Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the government is not giving up any natural resources in the country’s EEZ.
“We should also propagate an objective understanding of issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea to avoid being clouded by pure emotions which are being exploited by those who seek to divide rather than to unite us in our common goal. On the economic implications of the issue, we need to consistently acknowledge that the natural resources within our EEZ are for our exclusive exploitation,” he said. –AAC (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)