Map of British North Borneo. Highlighted in yellow is the area covered by the Philippine claim presented to the Court by the Philippines during the oral hearings at the ICJ on 25 June 2001 Source: Verbatim Records of the Oral Hearings at the ICJ 25 June 2001 (CR 2001/1, page 46 and Annexure of Maps)
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs has clarified that it will not change its stand on its claim on Sabah.
This was after a report revealed that the DFA offered to downgrade its claim on the disputed island in exchange for Malaysia’s support to the Philippines’ case against China.
The report says DFA submitted a note verbale to the United Nations last week that contained its intention to review its 2009 protest against the joint submission made by Vietnam and Malaysia which says the latter has the right to the disputed island.
According to the report, which cited the note verbale as a source, DFA would review the 2009 protest depending on Malaysia’s response to two requests.
First is for Malaysia to confirm that its claim of an extended continental shelf is entirely from the mainland coast of Malaysia and not from the maritime features from the Spratly islands; second, is the confirmation that it does not claim entitlement of maritime areas beyond 12 nautical miles from any of the maritime feature in the Spratly island it claims.
The DFA does not deny considering reviewing the 2009 protest, saying the move is only to resolve issues on extended continental shelves.
DFA said this would help them in their case against China over territorial disputes.
ASec. Charles Jose said, “As contained in the note, we are trying to explore ways by which we could resove the issue on extended continental shelve. That’s the main point of the note.”
Furthermore he added, “It will help our arbitration case but this is not a ‘do-or-die’ thing.”
DFA also clarified that Sabah had not been included in the note verbale, and that the Philippines will never give up its claim on the said island.
“The note (verbale) is about features on the South China Sea and their implications on the extended continental shelf claims. Sabah is not in anyway, part of the note… and there’s no way that we are dropping our claim on Sabah,” DFA spokesman said.
DFA will also be conducting an investigation on how the note verbale had been leaked to the media.
“One thing we could say, it’s a disservice to the country if conclusions such as these are being irresponsibly made,” DFA Spokesperson ASec. Charles Jose declared. (DARLENE BASINGAN / UNTV News)