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MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. seemingly downplayed a Senate resolution urging the Philippine government to bring before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) a call for China to stop its harassment of Philippine vessels.
Speaking to reporters in Malaysia on Thursday, July 27, Marcos pointed out that it’s the executive that sets foreign policy. “So, I mean – of course, the senator (Risa Hontiveros) is free to file whatever resolution she wants. But I do not know how that will translate to any action that will reach the United Nations General Assembly,” said Marcos.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, one of two opposition members of the Senate in the 19th Congress, filed in June a resolution urging the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to use the UNGA as a forum to press China to stop harassing Filipino ships. The resolution has the support of Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, an ally of Marcos.
The UNGA is the UN’s main policy-making body and is made up of all member-states. While resolutions passed by the assembly hold no legal sway, Hontiveros has argued that it carries “significant political weight and serves as an expression of the will and consensus of the international community.”
While not explicitly rejecting the resolution before the Senate, Marcos hinted at the absence of support from the executive, the branch of government he heads. “The United Nations entertains governments, not parts of government, not the judiciary of one government or the Executive of one government. They deal with governments,” he said.
Hontiveros’ suggestion is not new. Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, a leading voice and advocate against China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea, has made the same suggestion in the past.
While the UNGA is the policy-making body, it’s through the United Nations Security Council that these sentiments are turned into action. China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, meaning it can block any resolution it wants. Resolutions must be unanimously approved to pass the powerful Security Council. – Rappler.com