Group tells President Marcos bring West PH Sea issue to UN

Bring West PH Sea issue to UN, group tells President Marcos

/ 12:12 PM April 10, 2024

Alvarez to BBM: Stop escalating WPS tension


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Amid the seemingly regular episodes of Chinese Coast Guard harassing Philippine vessels on resupply mission to troops stationed on the grounded BRP Sierra Madre in the Ayungin Shoal, a nongovernment advocacy group has urged President Marcos to bring the matter to the United Nations.

In a letter to the President, a copy of which was furnished the Inquirer, Pinoy Aksyon for Governance and the Environment said  it may serve the country well if it avails of “the slew of remedies to resolve disputes that may tend to breach the peace of nations.”


It noted that China’s “inordinate actions” have “made a hawkish turn” and could be “harbingers of the worst things to come.”


Pinoy Aksyon, which has a secretariat based in Mindanao, has campaigned to raise awareness among the general public about the issues surrounding the country’s “valid claim” over portions of the Spratlys chain of islands. Last year, it launched a photo exhibit depicting the country’s maritime entitlements based on international law, and had just released a music video aiming to popularize “the inviolable right of the country over the West Philippine Sea (WPS).”

READ: ‘Tigas talaga ng ulo’: Hontiveros slams China’s artificial islands in West PH Sea

In its letter to the President, the group cited that the UN charter contains a chapter on ‘Pacific Settlement of Disputes,’ which, it said, is relevant to the WPS issue.

Such mechanism, described in Articles 33 to 38 of the UN charter, mainly involves the Security Council, a body where China sits as permanent member along with Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France.

Benito Dangazo, Pinoy Aksyon legal adviser, told the Inquirer that the so-called veto power of permanent members is nothing to worry about on the part of China.

“A party to a dispute shall abstain from voting. Therefore, China can’t vote. The risk is if Russia will veto but our stance is for strong countries to show leadership to preserve Indo-Pacific peace,” Dangazo explained.


“All the permanent members of the Security Council, except Russia, want freedom of navigation in the high seas facing the WPS and within the exclusive economic zones of the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam and other countries that were embraced by the 10-dash line,” added Dangazo, who used to be in the legal staff of the Office of the President.

READ: INQToday: China opposes ‘stoking bloc confrontation’ in West Philippine Sea

“We believe this move to raise our case to the level of the UN Security Council’s attention is warranted,” Pinoy Aksyon said.

It cited the following as sufficient reasons for the action: the unheeded notes verbale sent by the Department of Foreign Affairs to China; the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016; the employment of harassments short of armed violence such was water cannons, military lasers, dangerous boat maneuvers, and intentional collisions; China’s demarcation of its supposed territorial waters using the 9-dash line claim even after the arbitral ruling; and the recent incurrence of damages on a resupply vessel and injuries on Filipino Coast Guard personnel.

China must also be held to account for the massive environmental damages wrought by its activities on what used to be a pristine marine ecosystem in the Spratlys, Pinoy Aksyon convenor BenCyrus Ellorin told the Inquirer.

READ: ‘Irreparable harm’: China intrusion’s impact on West Philippine Sea ecosystem

Apart from building military fortifications, Chinese trawlers had reportedly damaged the coral reefs in the area, reducing its ability to produce marine bounty, Ellorin added.

Pinoy Aksyon said the recent action by the Security Council of demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza is a hopeful precedent for the country.

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“The import of these remedies at the UN Security Council is for the community of nations to make a stand against this anachronistic use of brute force by a country in utter disregard of the arbitral ruling, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and international law,” Pinoy Aksyon said.

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TAGS: UN, West Philippine Sea

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