Palace respects Senate resolution denouncing Chinese incursions in WPS | Inquirer News

Palace respects Senate resolution denouncing Chinese incursions in WPS

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 04:58 AM April 28, 2021

The government respects the resolution signed by 11 senators denouncing Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) that, according to them, endanger regional and global peace and security.

“The Palace respects that as the views of 11 policymakers of the country,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Tuesday in an online briefing from Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.

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The senators had bewailed the continuing presence of Chinese vessels in the Kalayaan Island Group in violation of the United Nations’ Convention of the Law of the Sea (Unclos) and 2016 arbitration decision on the WPS.

Roque suggested that Congress consider the passage of a new law to revert the country’s boundaries to those set by the 1898 Treaty of Paris and subsequent treaties to strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed area.

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He said that the passage of Republic Act No. 9522, or the 2009 revised archipelagic baselines law, resulted in the loss of a substantial part of the country’s territorial seas within the boundaries set by the treaty.

The Unclos had required the setting of archipelagic baselines in order for a country’s 370-kilometer Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to be determined.

Baselines are imaginary lines connecting the outermost points of outermost islands and drying reefs of an archipelagic country. The waters inside the baselines comprise a country’s internal waters while 22 kilometers from the baselines is the territorial sea.

Roque was one of the petitioners in a Supreme Court case that questioned RA 9522 for surrendering the country’s territorial seas encompassed in a rectangle-shaped area with the boundaries set by the Treaty of Paris.

A lawmaker has suggested that the international community form a multination coalition of coast guards and navies to ensure freedom of navigation in Southeast Asia, citing the rise of sea piracy in the region.

Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin said the move would make regional and global trade secure and safe as the maritime transport industry recovers from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the ongoing maritime border issues—an apparent reference to the maritime dispute in the WPS—might make navigating through the region’s sea lanes more difficult.

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“The presence of a multination coalition of ships to secure the sea lanes may become necessary,” Garbin said in a statement.

For Rep. Carlos Zarate, the government should deploy the Philippine Coast Guard, “to accompany or escort our hapless fisherfolks at Bajo de Masinloc and in the other areas where we have valid claims in the WPS.”

—WITH A REPORT FROM NESTOR CORRALES INQ
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TAGS: Malacañang, maritime dispute, Senate resolution on China sea incursions, West Philippine Sea
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