Malacañang said Wednesday that the 2016 Hague court ruling upholding the legal claims of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea is legal.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the response to China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian calling the Philippines’ landmark victory before the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration which ruled that the Spratly Islands, Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, and Recto (Reed) Bank are within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone “nothing more than a piece of waste paper.”
The same Hague court decision—which stemmed from a case filed by the Philippines against China—also rejected China’s expansive claims and outlawed Chinese aggression of Filipino fisherfolk in Scarborough Shoal which is a traditional fishing ground.
“Pinagdiinan ng Pangulo sa 75th General Session ng United Nations General Assembly noong September 2020 na patuloy na ina-affirm ng Pilipinas ang commitment sa South China Sea in accordance with UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral award. The President said, and I quote, ‘The Award is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish, or abandon. We firmly reject attempts to undermine it’,” Roque said.
(The President already said that the Philippines is committed to its claims in South China Sea in accordance with UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral award.)
“So bilang sagot sa sinabi ng spokesperson ng Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ang tingin po natin, ang award ay kabahagi na ng international law, iyan po ay sang-ayon sa Article 38 ng ICJ Statute ay subsidiary means of finding out the applicable norm of customary international law, at iyan po ay under Article 38 of ICJ Statute, writings of the most qualified publicists on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Roque added.
(As response to the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, the Hague ruling is part of international law, and that is provided under International Court of Justice.)
Moreover, Roque dismissed Vice President Leni Robredo’s call on the Duterte administration to show courage and resist such statements from China.
“Hindi ko po alam kung anong gusto niyang tapang ipakita. Pero nagsalita na po ang Presidente—malinaw, matapang sa UN General Assembly. The arbitral ruling is already part of international law,” Roque said.
(I don’t know what she wants us to do. The President has spoken, clearly and bravely, before the UN General Assembly. The arbitral ruling is already part of international law.)
“Kung hindi iyon matapang, ewan ko po kung ano ang matapang,” Roque added.
(If that is not showing courage, I don’t know what is.) — BM, GMA News
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