MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino said there are other available avenues where the Philippines can unilaterally bring the territorial dispute before an international tribunal for resolution.
He said that there are legal experts that are helping the Department of Foreign Affairs prepare the case and that “there will be a specific set of recommendations.”
“We believe we have a very, very strong case. We have asked them (China) to go to the various international fora available to both parties, and we are hoping ‘pag sinabi na adherence to international law and peaceful resolution, that seems to be the way,” Aquino told reporters.
China has reportedly rejected the Philippines’ invitation to bring the territorial dispute to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) for resolution.
The President said the Philippines is documenting the situation at the Scarborough Shoal, amid reports that there are now more Chinese vessels in the area. He said the Philippines would present this documentation when it brings the territorial dispute for resolution.
“Our fishermen have not been prevented from going back, except for the initial stage. They’re going there. We are documenting everything that’s been happening. At the point in time when we get to the proper fora, then we will present all of this,” he said.
Meanwhile, the President said he is still looking for other candidates who can meet the criteria to become the Philippines’ ambassador to China.