MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo urged Filipinos to “peacefully protest” China’s behavior in the West Philippine Sea, as “the threat to our sovereignty” is the “most grave and alarming” among the issues the country is facing.
“This is the time for us to peacefully protest any effort to limit or control movement in these waters. As neighbors and friends, we must stand in opposition to military buildups in the West Philippine Sea,” Robredo said on Thursday, July 12.
Thursday was the second anniversary of the Philippines’ historic victory against China in The Hague. Robredo was speaking at a South China Sea forum organized by the Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City.
This anniversary comes as President Rodrigo Duterte refuses to enforce the ruling while his foreign secretary, Alan Peter Cayetano, declines to publicize protests made by the Philippines against China, if any.
This is because the Philippines is seeking economic benefits from Beijing, even as the Asian giant continues to assert its supposed ownership of the West Philippine Sea.
In her speech on Thursday, Robredo said the Philippines’ decision to sue China under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was “an act of determination and pure bravery.”
“Our hard-won victory was a victory of the rule of law and the UNCLOS framework, and provides the foundation for all future engagements in the West Philippine Sea. It also sets the stage for peacefully reclaiming a massive resource, much bigger than our archipelago’s total land area,” Robredo said.
“Sadly, since then, we have lost that advantage.” – Rappler.com