‘Gentleman’s agreement’ on West PH Sea violates PH sovereignty

NSC: ‘Gentleman’s agreement’ on West PH Sea violates PH sovereignty

/ 03:48 PM March 27, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The supposed gentleman’s agreement between the Philippines and China on the West Philippine Sea violates the sovereignty of the country, according to the National Security Council (NSC).

NSC spokesperson Jonathan Malaya also said the agency is not aware of any “gentleman’s agreement” between Manila and Beijing as mentioned by Harry Roque, who was the former presidential spokesperson under the time of Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: Who is lying — the President or Roque?


“The good former secretary should be one to explain to the public his statements since such an agreement, if it exists, infringes and violates our sovereignty as a nation,” Malaya told reporters in a statement on Wednesday.


Malaya also said  the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea has not seen any document from the Duterte administration which validates or confirms the existence of this agreement and the terms of such agreement.

Nevertheless, Malaya said such promises no longer have any bearing on the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“Even if such a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ exists, it is not legally binding by its very nature. Therefore, the Marcos, Jr. administration is not bound by any such agreement because it is detrimental to the national interest,” Malaya said.

Roque on Tuesday said Duterte made a verbal agreement with China that both sides would maintain “status quo” in the West Philippine Sea.

READ: Ex-President Duterte, China had deal to keep WPS status quo – Roque


Duterte pivoted to China but Marcos reversed this move, allowing joint patrols and military exercises with the United States in the West Philippine Sea, allowing Washington access to four more Philippine military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

The resupply activity of BRP Sierra Madre grounded in Ayungin Shoal and the humanitarian activities in Scarborough Shoal become the flashpoint of tension between Manila and Beijing.

Beijing asserts sovereignty in the entire South China Sea, including most of the West Philippine Sea, even if such a claim has been effectively invalidated by a July 2016 international tribunal ruling that stemmed from a case filed by Manila in 2013.

China repeatedly asserted that the Philippines promised to tow away the BRP Sierra Madre, which has been grounded in the sandbank since 1999, but the latter also denied such an agreement existed.

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Roque also clarified that Duterte’s deal was not about China’s claim that a former president supposedly agreed to remove BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal.

Other past presidents, namely Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, have also categorically denied it.

TAGS: China, Jonathan Malaya, West Philippine Sea

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