House reso filed urging UN to intervene in WPS dispute

By Zaldy De Layola

June 10, 2024, 5:14 pm

MANILA – House Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Erwin Tulfo on Monday filed a resolution urging the government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), to sponsor a resolution before the United Nations (UN) General Assembly aimed at compelling China to stop unlawful actions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Tulfo, also ACT-CIS Party-list representative, said House Resolution 1766 was filed in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

“The landmark decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Case No. 2013-19, known as Republic of the Philippines vs. People's Republic of China, conclusively invalidated the Chinese government's expansive claims under the so-called 'nine-dash line,' declaring such to be incompatible with the provisions of UNCLOS, thus upholding the Philippines' sovereign rights over its EEZ and continental shelf in the WPS,” Tulfo said in the resolution.

Despite the PCA ruling, Tulfo said China has “steadfastly refused to acknowledge and comply with the arbitration award, persisting in its increasingly unlawful actions in the WPS, including the harassment of Philippine vessels and construction of artificial islands equipped with military installations, airstrips, and other strategic infrastructure within Philippine waters.”

“This year alone, aggressive maneuvers and water cannon attacks by Chinese vessels against the Philippine Coast Guard and Filipino fisherfolk underscore China's blatant disregard for international law and the legal maritime rights of the Philippines, thereby diminishing our territorial integrity and compromising regional stability and security,” the resolution read.

Last May 15, China promulgated “Regulations on Administrative Law Enforcement Procedures for Coast Guard Agencies” effective June 15, 2024, which reportedly authorizes the China Coast Guard to detain foreign nationals suspected of “illegal entry” into its waters for up to sixty (60) days without trial.

“This further exacerbates the already volatile situation and poses a direct challenge to well-settled international maritime laws and principles,” Tulfo said.

He said his resolution is also in line with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s earlier statement on the Philippines' unwavering commitment to resolving disputes through peaceful means, emphasizing the importance of dialogue and diplomacy in addressing complex regional issues.

President Marcos earlier articulated the "Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept," a strategic framework aimed at building the Philippines' defense capabilities and investing in diplomacy.

“In pursuit of the stance of the President before the international community, it is thus imperative for the Philippine Government, through the DFA, to assert its rights over the WPS and intensify diplomatic efforts to obtain international support against China’s unlawful acts,” Tulfo said. (PNA)