MANILA, Philippines – On the eve of the opening of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly's 74th regular session, former Philippine foreign secretary Albert Del Rosario on Monday, September 16, once again urged the Duterte government to bring the 2016 Hague Ruling to the international body.
Del Rosario said the Philippines, which is scheduled to speak at the UN General Assembly on Saturday, September 28, should seize the opportunity to "present a case for the UN to reassert that right is might and the rule of law must be upheld."
"On approaching the UN, our humble proposal is for the President to task the Department of Foreign Affairs to formulate a strategy on how the global village of nations can be convinced to take a stand on the rule of law in support of the Philippines," Del Rosario said on Monday.
Del Rosario, who was the Philippines' foreign secretary when the country decided to file its historic case against China, sought to remind the Duterte government that the arbitral ruling was "an overwhelming victory not only for the Philippines but also for the entire world."
"Unless we allow it, China can no longer claim the South China Sea as its own lake," he added. (READ: Del Rosario warns Duterte over 'ignoring' arbitral ruling in joint exploration with China)
Not the first time: Del Rosario backed his proposal by saying it would not be the first time that the UN supported a country's victory in an international court.
Similar actions have been taken by other countries in the past. For instance, Nicaragua successfully lobbied for a resolution at the General Assembly, which called on the United States to abide by a ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that favored Nicaragua in 1986.
Del Rosario stressed that many countries supported the Hague ruling, which asserted the Philippines' rights in the West Philippine Sea and invalidated China's 9-dash line. Among these countries, he said, were the US, Japan, Australia, the European Union, and fellow members in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Now's the time: Del Rosario said it was crucial that the Philippines bring the Hague ruling to the UN General Assembly.
"China’s violation of international law and non-compliance with a lawful ruling of an international tribunal undermine the very foundation of stability, peace and security of the international community," Del Rosario said, citing instances of Chinese aggression in the maritime area such as the swarming of Chinese vessels of Pag-asa Island and the harassment of Filipino fishermen in Philippine waters.
The former foreign secretary likewise urged the Duterte government to listen to the Filipino people, 87% of whom want the government to assert the Hague ruling, according to a Social Weather Stations in July 2019. (READ: Philippines loses to China 3 years after Hague ruling)
"None can equal in bringing China’s unlawful actions to fore than the condemnation by the United Nations. Consequently, the influence of global opinion should not be underestimated for it may contribute, albeit overtime, to a desired outcome that upholds the Arbitral Ruling," he said. – Rappler.com