MALACAÑANG on Wednesday, September 18, brushed aside the renewed call for the Duterte administration to raise before the United Nations (UN) General Assembly the Philippines’ arbitral win against China’s vast claims to the resource-rich South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).
In a chance interview, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he deemed it useless for the Philippine government to discuss the arbitral ruling.
“For one, it’s futile exercise. Why? Because UN has no enforcement force,” the Palace official said.
Panelo issued the statement, in response to former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario’s remarks on Monday, September 16, that it would be an “excellent opportunity” for Manila to present the Hague-based arbitral court’s decision on the South China Sea desputes.
The Philippine government is set to address the UN member-states on September 28 in New York City.
In July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, Netherlands ruled in favor of the Philippines when it affirmed that China has no legal basis to assert its supposedly historic rights over almost the entire South China Sea.
Del Rosario, in a statement on Monday, said the UN General Assembly is an “excellent venue” because all countries would listen, giving the Philippines the chance to “present the case for the UN to reassert that right is might and the rule of law must be upheld.”
The former Philippine top diplomat also cited Nicaragua’s previous move to ask the UN to convince the United States (US) to comply with a ruling by the International Court of Justice.
Nicaragua gained support from the international community, but the US ignored UN resolutions calling negotiations.
Panelo believed that Del Rosario’s call would not give Manila the advantage over Beijing.
“Sa tingin ko ganoon din (I think it will not have an impact),” he said, when asked if it has no use for the Philippines to present the sea ruling before the UN. “’Yung sina-cite niyang Nicaragua, o may nangyari ba doon? Wala naman. Ganoon pa rin, ‘di ba? (Did Nicaragua gain anything from its previous move? There’s none. It did not bear fruit, did it?)”
Panelo reiterated that the Philippines still opts to negotiate with China in a friendly manner to resolve the maritime disputes.
“He (Duterte) finds it effective ‘yong ginagawa niya ngayon. May impasse pero tinutuloy pa rin ‘yong usapan at the same time nakikipag-negotiate siya with respect to other areas of concern mutually beneficial to both,” he said.
(He finds it effective – what he’s doing now. There’s an impasse but the negotiations continue and at the same time, he’s negotiating with respect to other areas of concern mutually beneficial to both countries.) (SunStar Philippines)