Hontiveros pushes for ‘National West Philippine Sea Victory Day’ on July 12 | Inquirer News
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Hontiveros pushes for ‘National West Philippine Sea Victory Day’ on July 12

/ 12:48 PM June 28, 2021

RISKY WATERS A Filipino fisherman in a banca moves away from a Chinese Coast Guard vessel at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. — REM ZAMORA/ INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros has filed a resolution declaring July 12 of every year as the “National West Philippine Sea Victory Day”.

Under the Senate Resolution No. 762, Hontiveros said the declaration is in commemoration of the Philippines’ triumph before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and to honor the efforts of late President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in “securing a landmark legal victory upholding the country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.”

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“Considering the unresolved territorial dispute between the Philippines and China, and the presence of Chinese vessels in Panatag Shoal and other parts of the West Philippine Sea, which continue to threaten and harass Filipino fisherfolk and prevent them from exercising their traditional fishing rights in the area, it is essential that the spirit of the country’s landmark victory in The Hague be kept alive in the hearts of our people through a special day of remembrance and other related activities,” Hontiveros said in the resolution.

In a separate statement, Hontiveros called Aquino, who recently passed away and laid to rest on Saturday, as the “Father of our 2016 victory at the Hague.”

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“If not for his unwavering commitment to put the Philippines first, we would not have been awarded a landmark legal decision in international law, which established our credibility in the global arena,” Hontiveros said.

“PNoy (President Noynoy) was a true patriot. Even when the Philippines was going against the Goliath that is China, he pursued the case merely on the principle that it was the right thing to do. He would often say ‘the Filipino is worth fighting for,’ and this particular fight is undisputed proof that he kept his word,” she added.

Hontiveros added that having a day to remember and celebrate this win is also a way to counter mis- and disinformation that deliberately diminishes the 2016 victory.

In 2013, the Philippines under the Aquino administration challenged in the Hague court China’s claim that it owned more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, which includes waters in the exclusive economic zones of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

In 2016, two weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, the tribunal ruled that China’s claim had no basis in international law and that it had violated the Philippines’ sovereign right to fish and explore resources in the West Philippine Sea, the waters within the country’s 370-km exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.

China has consistently refused to acknowledge the 2016 ruling.

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TAGS: China, President Benigno S. Aquino III, Risa Hontiveros, UN Permanent Court of Arbitration, West Philippine Sea
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