Del Rosario brings maritime dispute to UN

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Oct 03 2012 04:04 PM | Updated as of Oct 04 2012 03:45 AM

NEW YORK - The Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations said that the Philippines made its strongest case for the peaceful settlement of the Philippine-China territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

“Today, my country faces its most serious challenge to the security of its maritime domain and integrity of its national territory as well as its effective protection of its marine environment,” said Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario during his address to the 67th session of the United Nations general assembly in New York Monday.

“We’re here to defend what’s ours, we will continue to do that, in accordance with the international law,” said Del Rosario, “Our position is clear and I think the strategy is clear, we made our position crystal clear to everyone”.

Del Rosario rallied the international community’s support by calling on all member states to respect the international legal framework in settling international disputes, by adhering to the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other instruments such as the 1982 Manila declaration on the peaceful settlement of international disputes.

“The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea has never been more relevant than it is today, all States must respect their obligations to settle their maritime disputes by peaceful means, without threats or use of force under UNCLOS,” Del Rosario said.

Del Rosario expressed that the Philippines is firm in promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes using a “rules-based approach” and stands firmly behind efforts in the United Nations to promote the rule of law and mediation, as a responsible member of the international community.

In his address to the General Assembly, Del Rosario said, “Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, If we achieve this, rather than being forced to accept that ‘might is right,’ we will instead demonstrate that ‘right is might.’ ”

In a statement following his address, Del Rosario said that the Philippines’ advocacy on the rule of law and the peaceful settlement of disputes is borne out of the country’s experience and insights as a founding member of the United Nations.

He said that it is deeply rooted in the Philippines’ experience as a nation.

Del Rosario also said that Filipinos fought hard for freedom and that President Benigno Aquino III has secured those freedoms firmly by placing the rule of law at the center of his governance and in the country’s relations with the larger international community.

But on the issue of his rumored resignation, the DFA secretary said that it’s all there is to that — a rumor.

“I’m here to stay… Yeah I’m here, that’s true,” Del Rosario told Balitang America.