by Benjamin Nathaniel T. Bondoc, Philippine News Agency | Tuesday, 12 July 2016
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) lauded Tuesday the ruling released by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration which favored the Philippines’ arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea territorial row.
“The Philippines welcomes the issuance today, 12 July 2016, of the Award by the Arbitral Tribunal constituted by the Permanent Court of Arbitration under Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the arbitration proceedings initiated by the Philippines with regard to the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea),” Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said in a statement.
In addition, the DFA said the country’s experts are now in the process of “studying the Award with the care and thoroughness that this significant arbitral outcome deserves.”
The Department, meanwhile, called on all parties concerned to “exercise restraint and sobriety” with regard to the said decision.
In addition, Yasay said the country strongly affirms its respect for the verdict as an important development in dealing with the territorial dispute.
“The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea. The decision upholds international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS,” the statement added.
The DFA chief also emphasized the Philippines’ commitment “to efforts to pursue the peaceful resolution and management of disputes with a view to promoting and enhancing peace and stability in the region.”
At 5 p.m. Tuesday (Manila time), the tribunal handed down its decision on the case which invalidated China’s claim over its “historic rights” to the disputed waters, stressing that its ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ claim has no legal basis.
The ruling also added that China violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone through meddling with Philippine fishing and oil exploration in the region, allowing the illegal entry of Chinese fishermen into the disputed waters and causing harm to marine environment in the region through its massive reclamation activities.
Such actions, according to the tribunal, has also caused the escalation of tension between the two parties. (PNA)