Newly adopted Senate resolution on WPS ‘stronger’ – Cayetano
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Resolution No. 718 on the West Philippine Sea, which the Senate adopted on Monday, is a “stronger proposal” than Resolution No. 652, which was filed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, according to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
“For me, it’s a stronger proposal because it’s broader [in scope] and it also takes into consideration contingencies,” Cayetano said, speaking partly in Filipino, in an interview with reporters on Monday.
According to Cayetano, that opened the door for the adoption of Resolution No. 718, which Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Hontiveros introduced.
“It’s so hard for 24 senators to agree… We would not have agreed if not for a deep discourse,” he added.
On Monday, the Senate unanimously adopted Resolution No. 718 in a plenary session.
The resolution condemns the continued harassment of Filipino fishermen and the persistent incursions in the West Philippines Sea by the Chinese coast guard and militia vessels.
Under this resolution, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is expected to continue holding dialogues with the Chinese government to push for recognition and respect of the Philippines’ sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone.
But if these efforts are continuously ignored by China and its navy and coast guard persist in harassing Filipino fisherfolk, the DFA is further urged to pursue the following:
- bring international attention to China’s harassment and its continued violation of the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration
- use international fora to rally multilateral support for the enforcement of the arbitral ruling and raise awareness of the real situation in the West Philippine Sea
- engage with like-minded countries to call on China to respect the ruling
- file a resolution before the United Nations General Assembly calling for the cessation of all harassment and violation of the Philippines’ rights in the West Philippine Sea
According to Cayetano, the government officials invited to the caucus enlightened all senators on what was really going on, what options were available, and what initiatives should be taken.
In a statement on Monday, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri called the adoption of Resolution No. 718 a “strong consensus” among all senators.
“I think what happened here is we strengthened the position of the government … and the beauty of this is, with proper consensus and of course consultations among our colleagues, we have come out unanimous,” Zubiri said.