By LLANESCA T. PANTI, GMA Integrated News
Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros questioned the Palace’s silence on the seventh anniversary of the country’s landmark court victory against China, in which the Permanent Court of Arbitration junked Beijing’s expansive claims in the South China Sea and upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone.
Hontiveros noted that while President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. pivoted towards seeking US assistance in defending the country from Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea, the Palace was mum on the anniversary of the country’s unprecedented legal victory last July 12, with only the Department of Foreign Affairs issuing a statement celebrating the country’s legal win against China.
“Even if this pivot towards the larger international community is for real, hanggang ngayon, wala pa ring tayong narinig sa Presidente na tahasang pagtutol niya sa paulit-ulit na pambabastos ng Tsina sa ating soberanya,” Hontiveros said during the Kapihan sa Senado.
(I have yet to hear the President call China out on its violations of our sovereignty.)
“Nitong nakaraang linggo lang, ni hindi naglabas ng pahayag ang Malacanang sa anibersaryo ng ating makasaysayang pagkapanalo sa The Hague. Pagkatapos mag-statement ang Chinese Embassy sa kanilang pagbasura sa ating tagumpay sa Arbitral Ruling, wala man lang kibo ang Palasyo? The silence is deafening,” she added.
(And just last week, the Palace did not even bother to comment on our historic victory in The Hague court. After the Chinese Embassy spoke on how they junked our Arbitral Ruling victory, the Palace did not react?)
Hontiveros also said that there had been multiple instances when Chinese vessels barred Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Navy resupply missions.
“If these Chinese blockades against our resupply missions continue, it will be as good as allowing China to kill our fellow Filipinos by hunger. That is why it is very important for the President to say that he will fight for our Hague court victory to provide political and economic support to our troops in their resupply missions,” Hontiveros pointed out.
“When the President delivers his SONA (State of the Nation Address) [on July 24], I want to hear clear, organized, and concrete steps in standing up against China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea,” she added.
Back on July 12, 2016, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling junked China’s expansive nine-dash claim in the South China Sea, upheld the country’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and deemed Chinese aggression against Filipino fisherfolk within the Philippines’ EEZ and common fishing grounds illegal. — DVM, GMA Integrated News