Palace tells Pinoys: We continue to assert West PH Sea rights

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2020 01:59 PM | Updated as of Jul 15 2020 02:00 PM

MANILA-- Malacañang assured the nation on Wednesday that the country continues to fight for its rights in the West Philippine Sea after a poll showed that the majority of Filipinos think the Philippines should assert its authority in the disputed waters.

Seven out of 10 Filipinos believe that the Philippines should assert its rights over islands in the West Philippine Sea, results of a Social Weather Stations phone survey released on Tuesday showed.

"As we have said in previous occasions, the Philippine government continues to assert our rights over the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the 2016 Arbitral Ruling," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.

"We have not waived nor have we relinquished these rights," he added.

The Philippines on Sunday marked 4 years since the international Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated China’s sweeping claims over almost the entire South China Sea.

The Chinese embassy in Manila called the ruling "illegal and invalid," after the Philippines touted it as "non-negotiable" over the weekend.

The Duterte administration opted to shelve the award to establish friendlier relations with China for economic benefits. 

Malacañang had said that President Rodrigo Duterte raised the award a few times before Chinese President Xi Jinping, only to be told of Beijing's consistent rejection of it.

Roque, however, said the disagreement on the arbitral ruling does not make up the entire bilateral ties between Manila and Beijing.

"We agree to disagree on the arbitral tribunal ruling and will proceed with our bilateral relations with China, especially on matters related to trade and the economics," he said.