Miriam: PH has become complacent over South China Sea dispute
Presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago slammed the government on Thursday for its supposed “complacency” in tackling the South China Sea dispute.
“The government seems to have grown complacent on the issue of the West Philippine Sea dispute, confident that the international tribunal now hearing the memorial it has filed against China will rule in its favor,” she said in a statement.
China stationed five ships in the Quirino atoll in the Spratlys recently, keeping local fishermen at bay. They have left as of Wednesday, the government said.
The Philippines is currently waiting on a decision by an arbitration court in the Hague on its territorial dispute with China, which has repeatedly refused to participate in the proceedings. The ruling is expected later this year.
“It is not true at all that the arbitral tribunal may decide on the Philippine side in the face of China’s excepting itself from the application of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS Articles 297 and 298),” she said.
The two UNCLOS articles outline the cases that may be submitted for jurisdiction, as well as limits to arbitration. Article 298 particularly states that “a State may… declare in writing that it does not accept any one or more of the procedures…”
Santiago also scored the administration for depending on US support to deter Chinese aggressiveness in the West Philippine Sea, saying that both countries have interest in controlling the disputed waterway.
If elected, Santiago said her administration will not depend on the US to resolve the sea dispute and instead negotiate with China and other countries.
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