National Mapping and Resource Information Authority deputy administrator Efren Carandang. (Photo: Philippine News Agency)
MANILA — Outgoing president Rodrigo Duterte’s good relations with Beijing, particularly with its president Xi Jinping, could probably be credited for China’s voting in favor of the Philippines as a member of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in the group’s elections during the 32nd Meeting of the State Parties to the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in New York City.
A social media post by the Philippine Mission to the United Nations announced that the Philippines won the requisite majority votes with 113 votes, but only after four rounds of voting by the 164 states represented. The Philippines ran against eight other candidates from the Asia-Pacific Group and nailed the electoral exercise.
The Philippines not only won membership but will also lead the CLCS from 2023 until 2028 with National Mapping and Resource Information Authority deputy administrator Efren Carandang as its lead official.
Foreign affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. thanked the countries which voted for the Philippines: “To the countries that voted for the candidate of the Philippines which is the only one that studies to fight and win, on the merits, the rights of countries with continental shelves, ‘I thank you.”
“Thank you, China for your vote. We have differences, sure; we tried but failed to bridge them but the endeavor was sincere; we are patriots each of our respective causes, but we have a deep respect and genuine affection for each other,” Locsin added while also expressing disappointment after Australia reportedly did not vote for the Philippines.
Locsin said he believes Australia and the Philippines are allies in maintaining a rules-based order in the maritime domain, and he supports the trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“I am extremely disappointed Australia cannot support our candidature to the CLCS. Stuck out my neck for AUKUS,” he said. “Thought we were partners in upholding rules-based order in the maritime domain. Come through for us,” he added.
In reaction, the Australian Embassy clarified that it “remains firmly committed to working with the Philippines and other partners, including in the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (the CLCS), to support UNCLOS in establishing maritime zones and upholding the rules-based order.” (ai/mtvn)