Senators Call for Diplomatic Resolution to Maritime Dispute in the West Philippine Sea

SENATE Majority Leader Emmanuel Joel Villanueva. File Photo
Spread the love

In his resolution, Villanueva highlighted the need for the Philippine government to assert its sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea through legal and diplomatic means. He stressed that the continuous aggression and harassment by the China Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Militia in the WPS are clear violations of international law. By filing the resolution, Villanueva aims to rally the support of his fellow senators in condemning these illegal actions and urging the executive branch to take immediate action.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s announcement of directing relevant agencies to develop a response and countermeasure package signifies the government’s commitment to addressing the Chinese provocation. However, Villanueva believes that more needs to be done. He calls on the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of National Defense, and other relevant government agencies to exhaust all necessary mechanisms within the boundaries of domestic and international law. This includes utilizing diplomatic channels to engage with China and find a peaceful resolution to the ongoing dispute.
The senator also emphasizes the significance of the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on July 12, 2016. This ruling invalidated China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, as it contradicted the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The court’s decision reaffirmed the Philippines’ rights over its exclusive economic zone and rejected China’s “nine-dash line” claim. Villanueva believes that this ruling should serve as the basis for the Philippines’ diplomatic efforts in resolving the territorial dispute.
In conclusion, Senate Majority Leader Emmanuel Joel Villanueva’s resolution calls on the Malacañang to protect the Philippines’ sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. He urges the government to take all necessary legal and diplomatic actions to address the unprovoked aggression and illegal activities by China in the area. By emphasizing the importance of exhausting all necessary mechanisms within domestic and international law, as well as referring to the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Villanueva hopes to push for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

In order to address these concerns, Marcos proposed the establishment of a comprehensive and transparent framework for accepting donations and contributions. She emphasized the need for strict regulations and guidelines to ensure that these donations do not compromise the country’s sovereignty and security.

Furthermore, Marcos called for increased diplomatic efforts to engage with neighboring countries and international organizations in finding a peaceful resolution to the maritime dispute. She suggested the exploration of diplomatic channels, such as bilateral negotiations and multilateral dialogues, to foster understanding and cooperation.

As part of her commitment to protecting Filipino rights, Marcos also advocated for the enhancement of the country’s maritime capabilities. She stressed the importance of investing in modern and advanced naval assets, surveillance technologies, and intelligence gathering capabilities to effectively monitor and safeguard the Philippines’ territorial waters.

Additionally, Marcos urged the government to prioritize the welfare of Filipino fishermen who are directly affected by the ongoing territorial dispute. She called for the establishment of support programs that provide financial assistance, training, and access to resources for these fishermen, ensuring their livelihood and well-being.

In conclusion, Senator Imee Marcos’s stance on the West Philippine Sea issue is centered on seeking a peaceful resolution while protecting Filipino rights. She emphasizes the need for reason and diplomacy, as well as the importance of asserting the country’s sovereignty and enhancing its maritime capabilities. Through her advocacy, Marcos aims to safeguard the interests of the Filipino people and promote stability in the region.

Recent Acts of Aggression and Harassment

In a recent act of unprovoked aggression on March 23, China Coast Guard (CCG) ships used water cannons against a Philippine boat that was on a resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal. The incident caused severe damage to the boat, risking the lives of the Filipino crew members. The Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) also installed floating barriers to prevent further entry of vessels in Ayungin Shoal.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported another incident on the same day, where a Chinese helicopter dangerously hovered close to a group of Filipino scientists conducting research work in Sandy Cay on Pag-asa Island. The Filipino scientists faced difficulties in maintaining stability, and one of them was at risk of drowning.

Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros has also voiced her concerns regarding the Sierra Madre, a Philippine Navy ship stationed at Ayungin Shoal. She emphasized the importance of the Sierra Madre remaining in its position as a symbol of the Philippines’ sovereignty in the area.

These recent acts of aggression and harassment by China in the South China Sea have raised significant concerns among the international community. The use of water cannons against a peaceful resupply mission and the dangerous hovering of a helicopter near Filipino scientists clearly demonstrate China’s disregard for international law and its neighbors’ sovereignty.

The incident involving the Philippine boat not only caused severe damage but also put the lives of the Filipino crew members at risk. This act of aggression is a direct violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which guarantees the right of innocent passage through territorial waters. The installation of floating barriers by the Chinese Maritime Militia further exacerbates the tension in the region and restricts the freedom of navigation.

The incident with the Filipino scientists conducting research work in Sandy Cay is equally alarming. The dangerous hovering of the Chinese helicopter not only disrupted their work but also put their lives in danger. It is crucial for scientists to be able to conduct their research in a safe and secure environment, free from any form of harassment or intimidation.

Senator Hontiveros’ concerns regarding the Sierra Madre highlight the symbolic importance of this Philippine Navy ship in asserting the country’s sovereignty in the South China Sea. The Sierra Madre has been stationed at Ayungin Shoal for years as a strategic outpost, serving as a symbol of the Philippines’ presence in the area. Any attempt by China to remove or undermine the Sierra Madre would be seen as a direct challenge to the Philippines’ territorial integrity.

The international community must condemn these acts of aggression and harassment by China and support the Philippines in upholding its rights under international law. The South China Sea is a crucial maritime region, and any destabilizing actions by China threaten the peace and security of the entire region. It is imperative for all nations to uphold the principles of freedom of navigation and respect for sovereignty to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for the South China Sea.

Source: The Manila Times

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *