PH should stand by PCA ruling despite Xi’s rejection – VP spokesman
MANILA, Philippines — While it’s good that President Rodrigo Duterte brought up the issue of the arbitral ruling during his visit in China, the Philippine government should not stop there — especially if his attempt to discuss it was met by rejection.
Lawyer Barry Gutierrez, spokesperson of Vice President Leni Robredo, expressed this sentiment on Sunday during “BISErbisyong LENI,” the Vice President’s weekly show aired over AM radio station DZXL.
The President had just returned from his five-day official visit to China, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In that meeting, the President raised the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration favoring the Philippines by declaring as invalid China’s nine-dash line claim of China in the South China Sea.
Xi, however, reiterated his rejection of the ruling, but he assured the President that China would avoid “provocative acts” in the South China Sea.
“Eh hanggang doon na lang ba iyon? Parang: ‘Oh sige, okay’ tapos tutuloy na tayo sa susunod na usapan,” Gutierrez said on Sunday.
[So is that where it ends? It’s like saying: OK, let’s move on the next topic.]
Following the meeting, the Palace said that the President would no longer raise the issue in his future meetings with the Chinese leader.
But for Gutierrez, the Philippine government should also be firm with its stand as well.
“For me, the government should make its stand clear because we have the favorable decision of the arbitral tribunal, which has a basis in international law,” Gutierrez said in Filipino. “The West Philippine Sea is ours. Our EEZ [exclusive economic zone] is ours. The claims of China has been junked.”
He compared the situation to two parties claiming the same piece of land. He posed this question: If a court should decided in favor of one party, would the other party agree to a business partnership with the other party?
“Halimbawa, kung sabihin niya sa iyo na, ‘Hindi, magtayo tayo ng sari-sari store.’ Eh bakit ka papayag? Eh mayroon ngang utang sa iyo iyon, eh. Mayroon pa ngang lupa iyon na dapat na sa iyo na ayaw pang isoli sa iyo. Eh bakit ka papayag na ganoon?” he added.
[For example, if he says to you: No, let’s put up a sari-sari store? Why should you agree? He already owes you. There’s part of the land that’s already yours that he does not want to turn over to you. Why should permit that?]
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