President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is set to negotiate with China regarding his stand in upholding the ruling issued by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration favoring Philippine claims on disputed areas in the West Philippine or the South China Sea.
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Finally, we have a president who will fight and defend our rights as a sovereign nation and in his first foreign policy pronouncement since being proclaimed president-elect, former senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. declared he would uphold a 2016 decision by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that favored Manila’s diplomatic protest against Beijing’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea.
“Our sovereignty is sacred and we will not compromise it in any way,” Marcos Jr. stressed following his proclamation by both houses of Congress as the successor of graduating President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
Marcos made the bold declaration saying he would not “allow a single millimeter of our maritime coastal rights to be trampled upon.”
These rights, he added, are based on a decision by the United Nations-backed PCA in The Hague in 2016 that invalidated Beijing’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea. China, however, has not recognized the ruling.
“We have a very important ruling in our favor and we will use it to continue to assert our territorial rights. It is not a claim. It is already our territorial right. We’re talking about China and how do we do that? We talk to China consistently with a firm voice,” the son of the late strongman Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Sr. empathically pointed out.
“(War) is the last thing we need right now. So we have to continue to discuss with them the conflicting claims that we have with China and that China has with other members of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),” he further said.
Last February, Marcos Jr. disclosed that he would seek the help of Southeast Asian nations and the United Nations to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea, which for the Philippines must be resolved because ours is “not (merely) a claim but a right.” (ai/mtvn)