MANILA - Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said Tuesday he hopes President Rodrigo Duterte would “finally listen" to Filipinos and raise Manila's arbitral victory against China over the South China Sea, before the United Nations General Assembly.
Del Rosario, who headed the Philippines' arbitration team at The Hague, said there is international support for the Philippines’ “lawful rights” in the West Philippine Sea.
"The position of France, Germany and the UK also unequivocally supports the will of the Filipino people, as shown in surveys, that our Government should raise the Arbitral Ruling in the UN General Assembly and other international fora," he said in a statement.
The former top diplomat cited China's "continuing unlawful oppression" in the disputed South China Sea, such as:
- preventing Filipino fishermen from pursuing their livelihood in Scarborough Shoal and in the West Philippine Sea
- blocking the development of our natural resources
- mercilessly destroying our marine environment
- erecting military facilities in Philippine waters, and
- "ridiculously confronting our President with the threat of war"
Del Rosario earlier said the Philippines must not succumb to threats of force or war from China, the world's second most powerful nation.
"It is a grave insult to our forefathers who died and fought for our country’s self-respect and independence if we only cower in fear before such threats," Del Rosario said.
"It is also a grave insult to our children and grandchildren if we give away our waters and territories in the face of such threats."
"As we had previously said, we are opposed to war—as we should be. But if threatened by the use of force, we should be ready to inflict, at the very least, a bloody nose on any attacker who is out to harm us," he said.
Duterte will address the United Nations for the first time later Tuesday or before dawn of Wednesday since assuming office as the intergovernmental organization marked its 75th anniversary, Malacañang said.
He will talk about the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and "issues on human rights and justice," Chief of Presidential Protocol Robert Borje said.
-- Report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News