1Sambayan: Duterte 'eroded' PH's position on WPS since arbitral victory | Inquirer News

1Sambayan: Duterte ‘eroded’ PH’s position on WPS since arbitral victory

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 01:16 PM July 12, 2021
Lorenzana, NTF-WPS no longer allowed to talk, issue statements on sea row with China

Around 220 Chinese militia vessels were spotted moored at Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea last March 7, 2021. (NTF WPS)

MANILA, Philippines — The opposition coalition 1Sambayan on Monday once again called out President Rodrigo Duterte for “refusing to assert and defend our sovereign territory and sovereign rights” in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

This came as the coalition celebrated the five-year anniversary of the Philippines’ victory before The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016.

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According to 1Sambayan, instead of capitalizing on the country’s arbitrary victory, Duterte only “worsened” the country’s position on the ongoing dispute.

“The five years that followed that decisive event led to a gradual erosion of our strong position in the WPS and a continued diminution of our maritime rights,” said the opposition coalition in a statement.

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“Yes, we won in 2016. But today, not only has the Duterte administration allowed a growing Chinese presence in WPS, but it also has – in the eyes of every patriotic Filipino – refused to assert and defend our sovereign territory and sovereign rights,” it added.

In 2013, the Philippines under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III challenged in the Hague court China’s claim that it owned more than 80 percent of the South China Sea.

In 2016, two weeks after 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.

But China and Duterte have consistently refused to acknowledge the 2016 arbitral ruling, 1Sambayan said.

The coalition, however, assured that it is not yet too late to fight for the country’s sovereign rights in the WPS.

“We hope to change that by finding leaders who will not betray our nation nor surrender our sovereignty and sovereign rights in the WPS, who will fight for what is ours, and who will continue the gains we won in 2016,” 1Sambayan said.

Currently, 1Sambayan is campaigning to field a common candidate for the presidential bid to contest whoever President Rodrigo Duterte would endorse in the 2022 national elections.

On June 12, 1Sambayan revealed six nominees for president and vice president: Vice President Leni Robredo, Former Senator Sonny Trillanes, Senator Grace Poe, Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list and Rep. Eddie Villanueva, Human rights lawyer Atty. Chel Diokno and Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto.

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TAGS: 1Sambayan, arbitral ruling, China, Rodrigo Duterte, West Philippine Sea
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