Euro MPs back UN arbitration of PH-China rowBy Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has obtained support from visiting European Parliament members on the country’s quest for a peaceful solution to the conflicting territorial claims with China through arbitration.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said seven Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the legislature’s Delegation for Relations of Southeast Asia and Asean (DASE) expressed to Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario their support for the Philippines’ move to use peaceful and rules-based methods of solving its maritime disputes with its neighbors, particularly the recent decision of the Philippines to submit to the nine-dash claim of China before an arbitral tribunal.
The MEPs agreed with Del Rosario that the legal track provides for a stable, nonviolent and durable solution to the issue.
The delegation, headed by MEP Werner Langen of Germany, is on a five-day visit to the Philippines to see firsthand the economic and social developments in the country. They called on Del Rosario on Friday morning.
In a statement, the DFA said Langen lauded the Aquino administration’s advocacy on good governance and the strong economic situation and endorsed the President’s fight against corruption, stating that “no corruption will lead to better performance of the economy.”
Earlier in the week, the delegation met with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Sen. Edgardo Angara, Bangko Sentral Gov. Amando Tetangco, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Commission on Human Rights chair Loretta Rosales, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles.
They also met with European Chamber of Commerce and civil society representatives earlier in the week.
The European legislators were also in Cotabato City on Feb. 13 and 14 to visit European Union-funded projects in the area. They reported that they were particularly “thrilled” to have visited Camp Darapanan in Maguindanao the day after Aquino’s visit last Monday.
DASE serves as the conduit of relations between Association of South East Asian Nations member-states and the European Parliament. Part of DASE’s responsibilities is to regularly visit Asean countries and to report the observations and recommendations to the parliament.
DASE last visited the Philippines on Nov. 3-5, 2010.
The EU is the fourth biggest aid donor of the Philippines. It was also one of the first to send its sympathies and P160-million assistance for the victims of Typhoon “Pablo.”
The EU also leads the rehabilitation and development component of the Mindanao Peace Process International Monitoring Team and supports the Philippines’ call for a peaceful resolution of the West Philippine Sea issue.