Tolentino Asserting our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea is a core issue that should unify all Filipinos, whether from Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao. Thus said Senate Majority Leader Francis ‘Tol’ Tolentino, as he led the distribution of financial aid to indigent residents in Zamboanga City on Monday, June 24.

Tolentino aids indigent Zambo folk

June 24, 2024 People's Tonight 139 views

Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Peninsula – Senate Majority Leader Francis ‘Tol’ Tolentino led the distribution of financial aid to indigent residents of this city, while also reiterating his call for unity in the face of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) conflict.

Mayor John Dalipe joined Tolentino in handing out cash assistance in simple ceremonies held in Barangay Tetuan on Monday morning, June 24.

The senator arrived in this city over the weekend to spearhead the launch of the Mindanao qualifying leg of the Philippine ROTC (Reserved Officers Training Corps) Games 2024, which runs from June 23-28.

He also visited neighboring Basilan on Sunday, where he pledged to help the local government promote the island-province’s budding tourism program.

“Some say that the WPS is not a gut issue, and the conflict is happening too far away from Mindanao to be part of your daily concerns. That is not true,” the senator stressed in his speech.

“The WPS involves our very core as Filipinos and it should unite all of us, whether we are from Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao,’ he added.

Tolentino is the principal author and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2492, or the proposed Philippine Maritime Zones Act.

SBN 2492 seeks to affirm the country’s rights and entitlements over all its maritime zones for the benefit of Filipinos, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the historic 2016 Hague arbitral ruling that favored the Philippines.

The senator then highlighted his call for unity and appealed to Zamboangeños to take a stand and pray for Filipino soldiers and fishers, who he said put their safety and lives at risk daily to assert the country’s sovereign and economic rights in the WPS.

“The WPS is an issue that should bind our archipelago. It concerns all of us and the youth, and even future generations of Filipinos,” he concluded.