Marcos admin urged to assert SCS ruling more vigorously

July 12, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 175 views

CAGAYAN de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Wednesday urged the Marcos administration to insist on China’s compliance with the July 12, 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidating Beijing’s expansion territorial claims in the South China Sea, including a big part of the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

He made the call on the seventh anniversary of the country’s victory at the United Nations-sanctioned arbitral tribunal.

“Our government should mark this day with more vigor and more forceful assertion of the ruling and our victory,” he said.

He said China should now abide by the ruling by abandoning areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) it has occupied and by ceasing to harass and bully Philippine vessels, including small boats, and Filipino fishermen.

Rodriguez also welcomed and lauded the support extended by the United States, the European Union and 16 European nations for the 2016 arbitral ruling.

“Thanks so much our big ally and treaty and economic partner, the United States of America, and to all our supporters in Europe,” he said.

He said the expressions of support of the US, several European nations and other countries “shows that China has become a pariah insofar as the 2016 arbitral ruling and its harassment and bullying activities in the South China Sea are concerned.”

The Mindanao lawmaker has been a consistent critic of China’s encroachment and aggressive activities in the West Philippine Sea and the country’s EEZ.

The US State Department issued the following statement:

“Today marks the seventh anniversary of an Arbitral Tribunal constituted under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention firmly rejecting the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) expansive South China Sea maritime claims, including any PRC claim to the area determined by the Arbitral Tribunal to be part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, as well as any resources therein. Under the terms of the Convention, this ruling is final and legally binding on the Philippines and the PRC.

The United States reaffirms its July 13, 2020, policy regarding maritime claims in the South China Sea. We continue to urge Beijing to comport its maritime claims with international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention; cease its routine harassment of claimant state vessels lawfully operating in their respective exclusive economic zones; halt its disruption to states’ sovereign rights to explore, exploit, conserve, and manage natural resources; and end its interference with the freedoms of navigation and overflight of states lawfully operating in the region.

We will continue working with allies and partners to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific, one that is at peace and grounded in respect for international law.”

The European Union delegation to Manila and the embassies of Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Romania, Slovakia (non-resident), Finland, and Sweden issued a separate joint statement:

“12 July marks the seventh anniversary of the Award issued by the Tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the arbitration instituted by the Republic of the Philippines against the People’s Republic of China concerning the South China Sea,” it said.

“The EU recalls that the dispute settlement mechanisms provided under UNCLOS contribute to the maintenance and furthering of the international order based upon the rule of law and are essential to settle disputes,” according to the statement.

“The Award of the Arbitral Tribunal is a significant milestone, which is legally binding upon the parties to those proceedings, and a useful basis for peacefully resolving disputes between the parties.”

“The EU reiterates the fundamental importance of upholding the freedoms, rights and duties established in UNCLOS, in particular the freedoms of navigation and overflight,” it said.

“The EU is committed to secure, free and open maritime supply routes in the Indo-Pacific, in full compliance with international law, as reflected in UNCLOS, in the interest of all,” the statement added.