Palace never ''shelved'' 2016 arbitral ruling
Malacanang on Sunday said the Duterte administration never “shelved” the 2016 arbitral ruling the Philippines won against the Chinese government over the territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea.
“In the first place, this Administration never shelved the arbitral ruling. It only remains unenforceable because no foreign force seems persuaded to help us enforce it, and neither do we have the capability of enforcing it alone by force, not to mention the fact that performing armed acts of enforcement could only trigger a bloody war that could cost the lives of our countrymen and destruction of properties in our land,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
This was in response to a statement of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Del Rosario last Saturday that it is the right time to “unshelve” the arbitral outcome and sit down with China for the enforcement as they now clearly revisiting its excessive and unlawful claims.
Panelo said the government’s response to the latest statement of the Chinese government over their claim in the disputed waters showed they “effectively removed” the arbitral ruling in the shelf.
“Assuming that we have temporarily shelved it as we pursue trade relations with China, the fact of invoking the arbitral ruling in our latest statement as well as asserting our sovereignty on our territory and right over our exclusive economic zone in response to an official statement from the Chinese government reiterating its claim of ownership and sovereignty over the disputed areas, effectively removed it from the shelf by virtue of such invocation and assertion,” he said.
Panelo blamed Del Rosario for the country’s loss of Scarborough Shoal when he was foreign affairs secretary.
“Moreover, Mr. Del Rosario, being responsible for the loss of the country's possession of the Scarborough Shoal during his stint as foreign affairs secretary by naively causing the withdrawal of our armed ship in the area of conflict, certainly can not put forward his pretended patriotism and feigned righteousness as if he has not contributed vastly to the unwelcome situation we are presently in,” said Panelo.
Panelo reiterated the Duterte administration’s unchanged stance the arbitral ruling is irreversible being based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and international law accepted by most, if not by all, nations.
“It has the stamp of permanence,” said Panelo.
“We urge the Chinese government to respect it, and we hope the mechanism of bilateral negotiations between the countries forge a mutually satisfactory solution to the conflict based on internationally accepted principles of justice and reciprocity, as well as anchored on the dictates of each national security and aspirations of their people,” he added. Ella Dionisio/DMS