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Philippines, China set to conduct second bilateral consultative mechanism next month

by UNTV NEWS   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano

The Department of Foreign Affairs or DFA defended itself from allegations that it is not taking steps to stop China’s ongoing militarization of the West Philippine Sea.

Critics particularly refer to Beijing’s construction of military structures in the disputed territory, which they alleged, the DFA is not addressing.

Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said, “They are asking why there are many ships, whether coastguard or navy, near PAGASA, because the Chinese are just being sensitive that there should be no build up in the sandbars or in any features because there was an agreement that there should be no buildings.”

According to Cayetano, Philippines and China continue to discuss ways on how to resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner.

Manila and Beijing are set to tackle some sensitive information regarding the West Philippine Sea during their second bilateral consultation in February.

“All the issues, including the concerns of our fishermen, as well as how do we see the long-term: where we will be 5 years from now, 10 years, 15 years from now? If other countries are using militarization, how do you define militarization?” said Cayetano.

DFA noted the two countries may also discuss the possibility of joint exploration in the disputed waters.

“There are samples around the world where there were disputed areas and an agreement had been reached allowing both countries access. That was because they dealt with sovereignty rights or economic rights,” said the DFA secretary.  — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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Ex-senator Biazon sees lack of government action over protection of PHL rights in WPS

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, February 19th, 2018

Former Senator Rodolfo Biazon (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines — Former Senator Rodolfo Biazon believes everything will be put to waste if the Philippine government fails to defend its previous stance on the issue of the territorial dispute over the West Philippine Sea.

Biazon is the author of the Baseline Law of the Philippines which was requested by the United Nations in 2010 before the UN Arbitral Tribunal released its decision on the rights of the Philippines over its exclusive economic zone in the disputed territory.

“It gives me hope that our government is seeing the protection of our interest when it filed a protest in the naming by China of Benham Rise. Are we going to see the same thing done in the Spratlys? We do not know,” said Biazon.

In his speech at an event by the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. last Saturday, the former military chief of staff underscored the importance of protecting the country’s interest in accordance with the law.

Biazon noted that the efforts of the administration in establishing good ties with China and other claimant countries should not compromise the welfare of the Philippines.

“Pursuing that interest through the international courts in accordance with international law to me is the most available option. It’s not right that we will not react,” said the former senator.

Department of Foreign Affairs Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano had previously revealed that the Philippines will appeal to the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) the names given by China to five undersea features of the Benham Rise since the country does not recognize Beijing’s move. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

 

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China benefits from PH’s softness on disputed territorial issues — maritime expert

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, February 19th, 2018

West Philippine Sea, a marine wealth of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea director, Professor Jay Batongbacal is concerned with the seemingly stronger militarization of China in the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea.

In a press conference last Saturday, Professor Batongbacal said that China is hugely benefitting with the Philippines in its seemingly lax treatment on the issues regarding the South China Sea.

“The government seems to be trading away its advantages too much, too soon, and I don’t think it’s wise because China is clearly gaining so much from our softness on these issues,” said the maritime expert.

It is right that the Philippines strengthen its good relation to China, but he reiterated that it is not right for the government to just give away our territory.

“It is correct to try to improve relations with China but it should not come at the cost of our own long-term interest,” said Batongbacal.

He added that it would be a huge loss for the country if foreigners will benefit from the riches which should be for Filipinos.

Last February 13, a bilateral consultation was conducted by the Philippines and China, it was a few days after the posted new photo of the artificial island built by China in the South China Sea.

Batongbacal was dismayed because until now, there is still no clear result on the said bilateral consultation on the issue of the disputed territories. — Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue

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China’s naming of PH Rise’s features, wrong-timing — Cayetano

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, February 19th, 2018

 

The Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise, is part of the Philippines’ continental shelf.

MANILA, Philippines —  Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano finds it inappropriate that China named some of the underwater features in the Philippine Rise.

He said it was wrong timing especially when there are existing territorial issues among some Asian countries on the territory issues in the West Philippine Sea.

But the secretary stood firm that the country will not use the names China has given to the underwater features.

“Protest means you’re complaining, you’re not agreeing. So we have to make that to International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). But regardless whatever IHO will say, we won’t recognize foreign names here, unless we agreed,” said the foreign affairs secretary.

But the secretary admitted that like other kinds of exploration, any country has the right to name what they discovered.

“In the scientific community when you discover something, it’s your pride to name it. So when French nationals discover it, they’ll put a French name. When Americans discover, they’ll put American name,” said the official.

Meanwhile, a formal communication with China is the action needed to be done by the Philippine government regarding the scientific exploration according to University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea expert Jay Batongbacal.

But he said this should have been done before it was discovered that China named our natural resources.

The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has a scientific basis in approving a name of an underwater sea feature.

“I’m not sure that is going to be the proper communication since this is an international organization, and is engaged in scientific work. There was a process for naming that had been followed and the process has already been concluded so I’m not sure if there is an additional procedure for seeking the reversal of their decision,” said Cayetano.— Mai Bermudez | UNTV News and Rescue

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