Ex-DFA Sec. Del Rosario thanks Marcos Jr. on West Philippine Sea stance

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2022 07:49 PM

Filipino youth activists  ABS-CBN News/File
Filipino youth activists brave the waves as they hoist a Philippine flag on the shores of Zambales facing the West Philippine Sea on June 12, 2017, Independence Day, as a symbol of the country’s claim to the disputed territory. Jun Dumaguing, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Thursday thanked President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. for supporting the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the West Philippine Sea.

Del Rosario, in a statement, recognized Marcos Jr.'s stand as "the right thing to do and a correct start."

"We are deeply thankful that President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. declared what Filipinos would like to hear: that the 2016 Arbitral Ruling is not a claim but already a right; that our sovereignty is 'sacred' and that he would not 'allow a single millimeter of our maritime coastal rights to be trampled upon,'" he said.

Del Rosario also noted that while war is never an option under the Constitution and international law, Marcos Jr. still has various ways to fullfill his "sacred duty" as "chief protector of our national territory."

The former top diplomat said these include the following:

  • Consistently raising the Award at the United Nations General Assembly and other international fora
  • Consolidating the support of other countries which believe in the Arbitral Ruling and the Rule of Law
  • Making China accountable for the environmental crimes it committed in the West Philippine Sea
  • Building a minimum credible defense posture to protect national territory

"It is our fervent hope that President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. will abide by his words declared today to protect our West Philippine Sea for the benefit of our countrymen," del Rosario added.

In an interview with select media networks on Thursday, Marcos Jr. said that he will assert the Philippines' claim in the West Philippine Sea while still continuing to pursue bilateral contact with China.

"We will not allow a singe square millimeter of our maritime coastal rights to be trampled upon," Marcos Jr. said.

The President-elect also said that the 2016 Hague ruling will be used to assert the Philippines' territorial rights in the disputed waters.

"Nasa atin na yung arbitral ruling so we have a very important ruling in our favor. We will use it... It's not a claim, it's already a right," he said.

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