Senate eyes July 12 as National West Philippine Sea Victory Day
MANILA, Philippines — A resolution filed in the Senate seeks to immortalize July 12 as the National West Philippine Sea Victory Day commemorating the country’s 2016 victory in the arbitral court against China and in honor of the late former President Benigno Aquino III, whose administration pursued the case.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Monday filed proposed Senate Resolution No. 762, declaring the date as a “special day of remembrance” to celebrate the landmark victory in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, which invalidated China’s sweeping claims in the region.
The senator said her resolution sought to recognize the pivotal role played by Aquino in The Hague ruling issued on July 12, 2016.
Aquino, son of democracy icons Cory and Ninoy Aquino, died of renal disease secondary to diabetes on Thursday.
“[Aquino] is the father of our 2016 victory at The Hague,” Hontiveros said.
“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,” the senator added.
“Because of our victory in The Hague, the international community stood firm in backing the Philippines against the excesses of China,” Hontiveros said in filing the measure.
According to the resolution, it was Aquino who led the Philippine government in initiating arbitration proceedings against China before the arbitral court “to uphold the country’s sovereign rights in the WPS (West Philippine Sea) after Chinese vessels began excluding Filipino fisherfolk from their traditional fishing grounds in Panatag Shoal and other parts of the WPS.”
Aquino, according to the resolution, “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,” Hontiveros said.
Meanwhile, a leader of a progressive fishing group on Monday urged the Filipino people to view Aquino’s death as a “wake-up call” not to put another Duterte in power as the 2022 elections draw near, noting that it was President Duterte who railroaded efforts to protect the country’s marine wealth and sovereignty.
Pambansang Pamamalakaya ng Pilipinas chair Fernando Hicap said Aquino’s decision to make an arbitration case against China to affirm the country’s sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea was a legacy that should have been continued and not overlooked by the current administration.
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