“One Policy, One Team”, Iginiit ng DFA

admin   •   September 21, 2012   •   3574

Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul Hernandez (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines — Nanindigan ang Department of Foreign Affairs sa “one policy, one team” sa pakikipag-negosasyon sa interes ng bansa sa West Philippine Sea.

Ayon kay DFA Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, hindi dapat payagan ng gobyerno ang sinomang negosyador na magdudulot ng pagkakabahagi o may ibang pamamaraan para resolbahin ang isyu sa inaangking teritoryo.

“It is always like that. When there is an issue the government has to unite under the one policy one position. Otherwise you will look like divided.”

Ayon pa kay Hernandez, handa na ang Asean countries na makipag-usap sa China para sa code of conduct sa pinag-aagawang lugar sa South China Sea.

“The ASEAN have already agreed on the elements of the code of conduct and we are ready to talk in the Chinese side to discuss the issue and finalized, hopefully the binding code of conduct of parties in the South China Sea.”

Sa ngayon aniya ay walang anomang sasakyang pandagat ang Pilipinas sa Bajo De Masinloc subalit nandoroon pa rin ang tatlong government ship ng China at may harang pa ring lubid ang entrada ng lagoon.

Nasa labindalawang diplomatic protest na rin ang naihahain ng Pilipinas laban sa China dahil sa umano’y mga paglabag nito sa International Law of the Sea.

Nanindigan din ang DFA na nananatili ang interes ng Pilipinas sa lugar, kaya isinusulong nito ang mga protesta hanggang sa United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“We have been protesting, we have been filing protest about intrusions, and we have been telling the world that Bajo De Masinloc is an integral part of our territory. What does it say, we are interested because it is ours.” (Dave Tirao/Ruth Navales, UNTV News)

House approves Philippine Maritime Zones Act

Maris Federez   •   December 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading a measure seeking to proclaim maritime zones under the jurisdiction of the Republic of the Philippines.

With 189 affirmative votes, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 9981 or the Philippine Maritime Zones Act.

The law aims to define the maritime zones of the country which include internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf.

The law said declaring the country’s maritime zones will establish the legal bases by which social, economic, commercial, and other activities may be conducted.

The measure aims to provide flexibility in enacting laws pertinent to the rights and obligations that the Philippines can exercise over its maritime zones.

House Committee on Foreign Affairs chair and Zamboanga Sibugay 2nd District Rep. Ann Hofer lauded the approval of the bill which she principally authored.

“The approval of HB 9981 marks an important step towards consolidating our maritime jurisdiction as declared in the historic Arbitral Award,” Hofer said.

The measure further provides for the sovereign rights over these maritime zones, thus establishing the country’s exclusive rights to explore and exploit living and nonliving resources found in these zones, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other existing laws and treaties. —/mbmf

PH Defense chief says China trespassing in Ayungin Shoal

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday reiterated that the Philippines has sovereign rights over Ayungin Shoal (also called Second Thomas Shoal) following China’s call for the country to remove its grounded vessel in the area.

“Ayungin lies inside our EEZ (exclusive economic zone) which we have sovereign rights. Our EEZ was awarded to us by the 1982 UNCLOS, which China ratified,“ Lorenzana told reporters.

“China should abide by its international obligations that it is part of,” he added.

The Defense chief issued the statement in response to the remark of China’s Foreign Ministry, through its spokesperson Zhao Lijian, demanding the Philippines to remove the BRP Sierra Madre from the shoal.

BRP Sierra Madre is an old Philippine Navy ship that was ran aground there to assert Manila’s claim over the area. It has been serving as the outpost of a small Philippine military contingent since 1999.

In a press conference in Beijing, Zhao claimed anew that Ayungin Shoal (known in China as Ren’ai Jiao) is part of Nansha Qundao, which is the Chinese name for the Spratly Islands also being claimed in part by the Philippines.

But Lorenzana maintained that Ayungin Shoal is within the Philippines EEZ as it is located about 105 nautical miles west of Palawan.

Aside from UNCLOS, the Defense chief also noted that the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in its 2016 ruling on a case lodged by the Philippines, stated that China’s territorial claim over the West Philippine Sea has neither historic nor legal basis.

“Ergo, we can do whatever we want there and it is they who are actually trespassing,” he said.

“Meron tayong dalawang documento na nagpapatunay na meron tayong sovereign rights sa ating EEZ habang sila ay wala at yung claim nila walang basehan, “ he added.

Lorenzana also said that as far as he knows, there is no commitment made by Philippine authorities to remove BRP Sierra Madre from the Ayungin Shoal.

“As far as I know there is no such commitment. That ship has been there since 1999. If there was commitment it would have been removed long time ago,” he said.

China’s demand for the removal of BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal came after Philippine military boats completed their resupply mission on Thursday.

The boats were deployed there a week after Chinese coast guard vessels blocked and harassed the first Filipino mission that were sent to the area.

The incident prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to call out China’s action at the contested waters during the ASEAN-China special summit on November 22. (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Duterte calls for self-restraint amid issues in West Philippine Sea

Maris Federez   •   November 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has called on stakeholders in the West Philippine Sea “to exercise utmost self-restraint, avoid the escalation of tensions and work towards the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law,” referring to the issues on the disputed waters as  “a strategic challenge that cannot be solved by force.”

A statement released by Malacañang said the President joined the discussion at the ASEAN-China Special Summit with his counterparts in the region to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations via video conference on Monday, November 22.

“We abhor the recent event in the Ayungin Shoal and view with grave concern other similar developments. This does not speak well of the relations between our nations and our partnership,” Duterte said.

“UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral Award provide legal clarity …pointing us to a just and fair solution to our disputes. We must fully utilize these legal tools to ensure that the South China Sea remains a sea of peace, stability, and prosperity,” he added.

The President also asked China to remain committed to the conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

“There is simply no other way out of this colossal problem but the rule of law,” he said.

During the summit, Duterte underscored the depth and breadth of the 30-year partnership between ASEAN and China who, he stressed, deserves its status as the region’s “Comprehensive Strategic Partner”.

The president also pointed out China’s timely assistance to ASEAN’s COVID-19 pandemic response efforts, and the first country to provide life-saving vaccines and medical supplies to the ASEAN member nations.

Duterte also expressed his views on the region’s recovery efforts against the pandemic.

“Enhanced multilateralism and connectivity will be the drivers of inclusive and comprehensive recovery,” the President said as he welcomed China’s ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Malacañang said that the President also touched on the recently concluded 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, reiterating the Philippines’ call for urgent climate action anchored on the principles of justice and fairness.

He also pushed for the protection and preservation of biodiversity and the marine environment through sustained cooperation by supporting the work of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity hosted by the Philippines, among others.

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