Duterte cites Hague ruling: PH may enter into fishing deal with other nations
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte defended his verbal fishing deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping allowing Chinese fishermen to trawl in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
In his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona), Duterte cited the 2016 Hague ruling that says “the Philippines may enter in a fishing agreement with other states.”
“I was invoking the traditional fishing rights. It was in the arbitral ruling. Ayaw niyo lang tingnan,” he said.
“It is mentioned there that even before countries were in existence, people around an ocean or a lake had already been fishing there for generations. And that is why fishing rights are allowed in the so many cases between Finland and Germany, decided by UNCLOS,” he added.
UNCLOS or the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) “is a product of a treaty,” Duterte said.
“That treaty is also a part of our land because we are a signatory,” he added.
He urged his critics on the South China Sea to read the international law.
“Kung basahin lang ninyo ‘yan nang husto, it is there. You might just… China and everybody recognizes traditional fishing rights for the natives who were there even before the creation of republics and governments. That law is a human law,” he said.
“There is a time for everything. A time to negotiate and a time to quarrel with your enemy, with your political opponents, with your wife. And a time to antagonize, and a time to make peace. And a go to war, and a time to live, and a time to die. That is Ecclesiastes 3,” he said.
In July 2016, the Philippines sealed a historic win against China before the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal in The Hague, which invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claims to almost all of the South China Sea.
In his speech, Duterte defended his decision to allow China in Philippine waters.
“The Arbitral Ruling even states that the Philippines may enter into fishing agreements with other states, provided certain conditions and requisites in the UNCLOS are met,” he said.
He assured Filipinos “that national honor and territorial integrity shall be foremost in our mind.”
“And when we take next steps in the smoldering controversy over the lines of Arbitral Ruling, the West Philippine Sea is ours. there is no ifs and doubts. But we have been acting along that legal truth and line. But we have to temper it with the times and realities that we face today,” he said.
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