PH did not waive or relinquish rights over WPS territories — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday said the Philippine government did not waive or relinquish its rights over the disputed areas in the West Philippines sea, even as the administration resorted to using peaceful and diplomatic means in resolving the maritime dispute with China.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement after a Social Weather Station (SWS) survey showed that 70% of Filipinos believe that the Philippine government should assert its rights over the territories in the West Philippine Seam in accordance with the 2016 arbitral ruling.
The four-year old ruling invalidated China’s expansive claims over the entire South China Sea and upheld and Philippines’ rights over its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“We have not waived nor have we relinquished these rights,” Roque insisted.
“Unfortunately, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling has no way of being enforced by the body which rendered it, so we must look to other means to resolve the dispute,” he added
While the Duterte administration is using peaceful and diplomatic means to resolve the maritime dispute with the Asian powerhouse, the Palace official noted that the issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea “do not make up the sum total of our relations with China.”
“We agree to disagree on the arbitral tribunal ruling and will proceed with our bilateral relations with China, especially on matters related to trade and the economics,” he said.
On the fourth anniversary of the landmark ruling on July 12, 2020, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said the PCA ruling is “non-negotiable” as he called on China to honor the award.
However, China, in a statement through its embassy here in the Philippines, again refused to bow down to the ruling.
It was the Aquino administration that brought China to court. But the PCA ruling was handed out just days upon President Rodrigo Duterte’s assumption to Malacañang.
Despite the award favoring the Philippines, Duterte has chosen to shelve the ruling in exchange for Chinese economic perks to help fund his administration’s infrastructure projects even as Beijing continues its military activities within Philippine territory.
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