On the West Philippine Sea dispute, former President Benigno Aquino III had taken an official position to defend what is legitimately ours as mandated by our Constitution. This led as a last resort to filing a compulsory arbitration case against China.
As a private citizen of the Philippines, please allow me to humbly express my views on the Award handed down by the Arbitral Tribunal on our country’s claims with regard to maritime entitlements in the South China Sea:
1) At the outset, we should welcome the Award and thank the Arbitral tribunal for their wisdom and objectivity.
2) The Awards affirms the primacy of the rule of law based on UNCLOS, the constitution for the oceans. The Award further affirms our collective belief that right is might and that international law is the great equalizer among states.
3) For the sake of maintaining international order, it is imperative that the Award and clarification of maritime entitlements be accepted by all relevant countries – without exception – so that we can work together on how remaining issues can be peacefully resolved.
4) The Award provides a basis to further talks and cooperation to encompass all parties, including China. This has been proposed by President Rodrigo Duterte so that good faith discussions, based on the rule of law, can be commenced to prepare the ay for negotiations and a lasting settlement among all parties with claims in the South China Sea.
5) Finally, we should proffer our deep gratitude to the community of responsible nations which has firmly supported us, and we trust that these nations will continue their invaluable support to have all relevant countries respect the rule of law as handed down by the arbitral tribunal.