MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will submit a report to the United Nations regarding Chinese forces' incursions into Philippine territory in the disputed Spratly islands, a Malacañang official said Thursday.
The report is now being prepared by the DFA, according to Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office.
"It shouldn't take too long before that's submitted to United Nations," he said in an interview with reporters.
Carandang said the Philippines will submit a separate report to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
"Many of our ASEAN member countries, our friends in ASEAN, are aware on the different incidents that have been happening, just like we are aware of the different incidents that have been happening with China and Vietnam," he added.
"Vietnam is aware of the incidents that have been happening with China and the Philippines. And this is being communicated to our ASEAN neighbors," he said.
Deal with China, Vietnam too early
Carandang, meanwhile, said securing a deal with China and Vietnam to end the territorial dispute will be premature.
It is not yet the right time to pursue a revival of a joint seismic-marine undertaking with between the Philippines and the 2 other claimants of the Spratlys, he added.
"I think it's premature to talk about that right now. Hindi pa nga natin nalilinaw sa lahat ng mga bansa kung ano ang teritoryo natin at kung ano iyong considered disputed. Marami pa tayong kailangang ayusin. Kailangan pa nating makipag-usap sa ibang mga bansa sa ASEAN. So, it's not the right time to talk about that right now," he said.
Former House Speaker Jose de Venecia has proposed to the Aquino administration the shelving of sovereignty issues in favor of joint exploration of the Spratly Islands area with other claimant countries.
De Venecia said the proposal, which he has discussed with leaders of China and Vietnam, involves the declaration of an open seas policy and the demilitarization of the area with the pullout of military garrisons.
Carandang, however, said the Palace still wants to see a way for resources in the disputed areas to be jointly explored and exploited by the different claimants.
"But, that's far ahead into the future. Kailangan pa muna nating linawin sa lahat ng mga bansa iyong mga isyu na pinag-uusapan ngayon, like Reed Bank, Spratlys. May Code of Conduct tayo na isinusulong na hindi pa naman binding sa ngayon. So, there are many steps that have to be taken at this point before we can seriously discuss the proposal of the former speaker," he added.
He stressed that President Benigno Aquino III has been reaching out to ASEAN members regarding the Spratlys row.
"In the previous ASEAN Summit and the bilaterals that President Aquino has been having with ASEAN countries, he has been explaining our position on Kalayaan Islands and Reed Bank to the other ASEAN countries. They have pledged their support," Carandang said.
"But we still need to bring everybody together on ultimately some kind of, kumbaga, 'ground rules.' How will we address these issues in a way that’s acceptable to all parties? So, we have been actually, over the last several months, engaging our ASEAN partners in trying to come up with a common position on the issues of the South China Sea," he said.