DFA denies giving up claim on Sabah

admin   •   March 30, 2015   •   4189

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)

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Phl protests China’s unilateral fishing ban in West Philippine Sea

Marje Pelayo   •   May 19, 2021


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has rejected China’s unilateral imposition of a fishing moratorium in the South China Sea.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippines does not recognize China’s unilateral imposition of a fishing ban in the area which runs from May 1 to August 16, 2021.

“As announced by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the ban covers ‘waters north of 12 degrees north latitude’ in the South China Sea,” the DFA said.

“These waters include areas over which the Philippines exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction,” the agency added.

The DFA explained: “According to Paragraph 716 of the Award of the South China Sea Arbitration rendered on 12 July 2016, China, by promulgating its moratorium on fishing in the South China Sea, ‘without exception for areas of the South China Sea falling within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines and without limiting the moratorium to Chinese flagged vessels, breached Article 56 of the 1982 UNCLOS with respect to the Philippines’ sovereign rights over the living resources of its exclusive economic zone.” The 2016 arbitral award also affirmed the traditional and legitimate fishing rights of Filipino fishermen.”

China’s annual fishing moratorium extends far beyond it’s legitimate maritime entitlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and is without basis under international law, the DFA said.

“China cannot legally impose nor legally enforce such a moratorium in the West Philippine Sea,” it stressed.

Thus, the Philippines strongly urges China to desist from any action and activity that infringes on Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction, in contravention of international law, the DFA said.

Only Roque, DFA’s Locsin allowed to speak on WPS issue

Robie de Guzman   •   May 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Tuesday defended the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte for his Cabinet officials to refrain from talking about the West Philippine Sea issue in public.

Duterte issued the order after he was advised by former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to just ignore the critics of his foreign policy and his approach in resolving the maritime dispute with China.

Enrile appeared in Duterte’s weekly public address on Monday night to discuss the issue on the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte said only his spokesperson, Harry Roque, and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. are allowed to speak up on the issue.

“The instruction of the President was clear. Only the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and myself can speak on the issue now,” Roque said in a virtual press briefing.

When asked if the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) can still issue press statements about its maritime patrols in the region, Roque said the task force will now have to forward its reports to the DFA for appropriate action.

“Reports of the NTF are forwarded to the DFA and they will determine if they will file diplomatic protests so these are matters, facts which are relevant to diplomatic communications covered by executive privilege,” Roque said.

“Although there is transparency, an exemption to transparency are diplomatic communications and that includes also input which forms part of diplomatic communications,” he added.

The NTF-WPS regularly releases statements and images of Chinese vessels encroaching the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The DFA has repeatedly filed diplomatic protests over the continued presence of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

No plans yet for repatriation of OFWs in Israel yet — DFA exec

Marje Pelayo   •   May 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is closely monitoring the situation in Israel amid fresh attacks from Hamas militant groups in the Gaza Strip in recent days.

According to DFA Executive Director for Strategic Communications Ivy Banzon-Abalos, the agency has no plans yet to repatriate Filipinos in Israel though tensions seem to escalate between the two conflicting forces.

“Wala pa po dahil may mga safe areas naman po doon,” Abalos said when asked about possible repatriation.

Based on DFA’s record, there are at least 30,000 Filipinos living and working in Israel.

Most of this number work as caregivers or household helpers.

Since Monday (May 10), the Hamas militant group launched almost a hundred of its rockets aiming at Israeli forces to which the latter intercepted with its iron dome system.

To date, the DFA said there is no report of any casualty or injury among Filipinos in Israel.

“No new updates pa po. Wala pa ring report of any Filipino casualties,” Abalos said.

While the situation on the ground remains volatile, the DFA advises Filipinos in Israel to remain vigilant and be aware of the situation.

In its advisory, the DFA warns Filipinos not to go to sensitive areas near Jerusalem including Temple Mount; Damascus Gate; Herod’s Gate; Al Wad Road; Mustata Road; and East Jerusalem and near the West Bank.

Also, Filipinos are discouraged to come near Israeli Security Forces and immediately go to nearby bomb shelters at the sound of the siren.

Filipinos are advised to keep the Philippine Embassy in Israel Hotline number +972 54 466 1188 and immediately communicate with any Embassy representative in any case of emergency. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)


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