THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday they are currently preparing for the oral argument on the arbitration case it filed against China before a United Nations-backed court in The Hague.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said in a press briefing that the department is currently preparing for the oral argument, which is scheduled on July 7 to 30 in The Hague, Netherlands.

Monday (June 15) marked the deadline for China to submit its counter-argument on the 2,000-page Memorial by the Philippines.

Jose said China has already made it clear since the arbitration case was filed in January 2013 that "they will not participate."

This was triggered by the naval standoff between Beijing and Manila at the Scarborough Shoal, which sits inside the Philippines' 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), in April to June 2012.

Jose added legal experts will be arriving at The Hague from Manila and the United States.

Paul Reichler, a legal expert from US-based law firm Foley Hoag, is the Philippines' legal counsel.

Jose already earlier said they are expecting the five-member arbitral tribunal to hand down the decision early next year, although China remained steadfast on its policy of bilateral negotiations.

It has recently called on claimant-countries again to talk directly in the hopes of resolving the maritime disputes since it sees it as a regional issue, in which the international community has no business of intervening into.

The DFA, however, is sticking to its arbitration case since any talks outside the court will undermine the legal battle it started to determine maritime boundaries and entitlements under the rule of law.

Since January this year, Beijing has been massively reclaiming islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), and has already built military facilities on Mischief Reef and Fiery Cross Reef. (CVB/Sunnex)