MANILA, Philippines – Minutes after an arbitral tribunal's ruling on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) was announced late Tuesday afternoon, July 12, Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Cabinet members are preparing a summary of the historic decision for President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The Solicitor General [Jose Calida] shall provide the President a synopsis of the ruling tomorrow morning and a complete and thorough interpretation in 5 days,” Andanar told Rappler on Tuesday evening.
Duterte was set to preside over a Cabinet meeting starting 6 pm on Tuesday. Andanar confirmed that the primary agenda is the ruling of the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal in The Hague, the Netherlands.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr said in a statement that the Philippines “welcomes” the decision. Government experts, he said, would carefully study the award. (READ: PH calls for 'restraint, sobriety amid favorable ruling on sea row)
The much-awaited ruling declares that China has “no legal basis” to claim historic rights to resources “within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line" in the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte has said he would wait for the decision before determining his administration’s next moves.
Malacañang had assured that the Duterte administration would prioritize the national interest in deciding what to do with the favorable ruling. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.