Hague ruling on West Philippine Sea

Newly-convened citizens group offers strategies to enforce Hague ruling

Jairo Bolledo
Newly-convened citizens group offers strategies to enforce Hague ruling

FIGHT FOR SOVEREIGN RIGHTS. The CALL of the SEA, a newly-convened organization, proposes a 10-point strategy to enforce the Hague ruling.

CALL of the SEA

CALL of the SEA consists of 75 different civic and faith-based organizations that aim to promote the country’s sovereignty and sovereign rights

Citizens Alliance for Life and the Law of the Sea (CALL of the SEA), a newly-convened citizens organization that aims to promote the country’s sovereignty and sovereign rights, has offered a list of strategies that can be undertaken by the government and other groups to enforce the 2016 Hague ruling. 

The group, headed by former senator Joey Lina was launched on Monday, July 12, 2016, the fifth anniversary of the arbitration award to the Philippines. At least 75 organizations, including civic and faith-based organizations, are part of the alliance. 

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CALL of the SEA proposes the following interventions:

  • Mobilize different civil society organizations (CSO) to educate their members in the topics concerning the West Philippine Sea.
  • Encourage CSOs to form alliances with international organizations with an end goal of creating a Global Alliance for Life and the Law of the Seas.
  • Encourage the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education to inject West Philippine Sea topics in the education curricula. 
  • Encourage the media, business sector, and the Church to raise awareness and knowledge about the 2016 Hague ruling.
  • Support legislative and executive actions to assert sovereign rights through multinational exploration partnerships. 
  • Encourage the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard to be proactive in guarding the waters.
  • Encourage the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to continue filing diplomatic protests every time the country’s sovereign rights are threatened or violated. 
  • Encourage the DFA, with the help of experts and lawmakers, to conduct an in-depth study on the propriety of filing a resolution to call for compliance with the arbitration award. 
  • Encourage the defense department to join international freedom of navigation exercises.
  • Encourage the defense department to prepare a contingency plan, which includes reservists.

On July 12, 2016, the Hague ruling favored the Philippines in its claims over the West Philippine Sea. The ruling invalidated China’s claims and reaffirmed the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea principle, which states that all features located within the country’s exclusive economic zone belong to that country.

Lawyer Rico Domingo, president of the Philippine Bar Association, also part of the alliance, said that the arbitral award, if enforced, will not just be beneficial to the Philippines. 

“The arbitral award will also benefit all coastal states in the world. The arbitral award is not only a legal award, but a moral victory as well,” Domingo said during the launch.

Lessons from past years

During the launch, retired senior associate justice Antonio Carpio shared five lessons the Philippines learned from the arbitral award. These are as follows:

  • States can rely on international law
  • No world policeman enforces arbitral awards
  • States that lose in arbitrations are naturally unhappy
  • The non-nuclear winning state cannot expect the losing nuclear armed state to just roll over and comply
  • The Filipino people must be on the same page on the West Philippine Sea issue

The retired justice also encouraged Filipinos to stand up against acts of the President that affect the country’s sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. 

“The Filipino people must object, and object vigorously, to any act of the President that devalues or diminishes our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. This is the final lesson – the Filipino people must remain ever vigilant to protect, preserve, and defend their sovereign rights in the nation’s exclusive economic zone in the West Philippines Sea,” Carpio said. 

Newly-convened citizens group offers strategies to enforce Hague ruling

Five years after the country’s victory in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, President Rodrigo Duterte never enforced the ruling to address Chinese activities in the West Philippine Sea. 

Instead of standing up, the President has repeatedly claimed that the country cannot do anything about Chinese aggression in contested waters even though experts have contradicted him multiple times. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.