Pres. Duterte, not apologetic to Pres. Xi in raising arbitral ruling during his China visit

Maris Federez   •   September 4, 2019   •   1270

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping

There is no truth to the reports that President Rodrigo Duterte had been apologetic to President Xi Jinping when the former raised the arbitral ruling in the South China Sea in his recent visit to China.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin, Jr said the reports were a total fabrication and a complete lie.

“The reports that the President was apologetic in raising the arbitral award is a total fabrication, and in every aspect a complete lie. On the contrary, the President has, in my experience in his visits to China, always raise the Arbitral Award,” Locsin stressed.

Locsin also maintained that the president had been firm in insisting that China has to seek permission from the Philippine government before any of its warships incurs in Philippine waters.

“By insisting on, the President I admire him for this, on permission. But by China saying, yes we will ask for permission, we are now on the side of China in the revision of UNCLOS which is now asking for permission,” the DFA head added.

The official added that the Philippine government had been filing diplomatic protests to insist on the country’s rights in the disputed territory.

“And we have not withdrawn from a single square inch of what we claim is ours,” Locsin underscored.

The Philippines has filed 60 diplomatic protests under the Duterte administration. (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf
 

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

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.

Coalition calls for strong enforcement of 2016 arbitral ruling anew

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 12, 2021

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)

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