Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang admitted that the Philippines cannot make use of the arbitral ruling to insist its sovereign rights on the disputed islands in the South China Sea.
Though the Arbitral court ruled that it has jurisdiction over the case filed by the Philippines against China under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), its decision in 2015 remained useless as it is not binding and no international body has the power to implement the decision.
However, the Palace said, it does not mean that the Philippines will just watch and not act to defend its rights over the disputed territories.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo recalled President Rodrigo Duterte’s words that someday, the Philippines will have its chance to press its rights to China.
When asked if the ruling is useless, Panelo said, “As of now, yes. But as I said, we can get what we are supposed to have by negotiation.”
He added that the ruling will become substantial if all claimant countries will unite and support the ruling against China.
“Perhaps, if all countries of the world will unite, and pressure China, who knows? In other words, there must be a collective action by the countries of the world, and either persuade or pressure China into respecting the arbitral decision. We cannot give us this claim simply because it’s already ours. we’ve won it and it will be there forever,” Panelo added.
Meanwhile, the Palace questioned the timing and the questionnaire of the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) which stated in the results that more Filipinos are against the alleged “inaction” or corruption in the Duterte administration on the issue of West Philippine Sea.
The survey was released on the day of President Xi Jinping’s arrival in the Philippines for the state visit.
Panelo claimed that the questionnaires seemed suggestive.
He denied the government’s alleged inaction on the matter.
“We have one entered into bilateral talks, where problems common to this region are discussed like security, like terrorism, like the drug menace, like trade relations, will be beneficial to all countries in this region,” Panelo said. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)