Ph gov’t urged to tap UN General Assembly to diplomatically enforce int’l ruling

Manila, Philippines – To enforce the arbitration and diplomatically assert sovereignty, the Philippine government should lodge a resolution with the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) calling for China’s full compliance of the 2016-ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) invalidating Beijing’s sweeping claims over the almost entire South China Sea, according to the national fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Monday, amid the continuing presence of hundreds of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

“China keeps on violating not only the international treaty that it is party to, but also the international law that it has ratified and a signatory of. To enforce the international ruling, the Philippine government should keep on tapping the UN, this time the General Assembly to pressure China to comply with the binding ruling under the most basic rules of public international law,” Bobby Roldan, PAMALAKAYA Vice Chair for Luzon said in a statement.

Known as the principle of pacta sunt servanda or “agreements must be kept” of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, China and Philippines are both obligated under the most basic rules of public international law to respect the terms of a treaty that they are parties to.

“The Philippine government has every legal claim at its disposal to peacefully and diplomatically assert our sovereignty to China. This is aside from the government’s constitutional mandate to preserve and defend the Philippine sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national interest,” Roldan, a local fisherman in Bataan province, added.

The fishers’ group also refutes the claim of the Chinese Embassy to the Philippines that the Julian Felipe Reef is part of China’s Nansha Islands, saying it is a “West Philippine Sea feature located 175 nautical miles from the town of Bataraza, Palawan”.

“While there may have been evidence that Chinese fishermen had made use of the feature, so had our fishermen and fisherfolks from other claimant states. China’s narrative that its fishermen have been utilizing the maritime feature can’t just generate a legal claim, a binding international law does,” Roldan ended. ###

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