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Zubiri, senators: PH must tell world how China violating SCS ruling

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The government should not stop citing the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) but tell the world how China is violating the decision that invalidated its expansive claims in the South China Sea, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Sunday.

In blatantly defying the arbitral ruling, China has been bullying the Philippines and other countries involved in territorial disputes over WPS, Zubiri said.

Because of this, Zubiri said he strongly supports the move to present to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) the repeated incursions and violations of China of the Hague arbitral ruling.

Zubiri also said most senators supported this stand, although only he and opposition Senators Risa Hontiveros and Koko Pimentel have publicly stated so.

In an informal poll conducted by the Standard of the senators’ chiefs of staff, at least 20 said their bosses approved of the measure and would come out with their own statements this week.

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“We should show the video and photographic evidence of their creeping invasion towards our country and our neighbors with their continuous reclamation of territory within our EEZ (exclusive economic zone) and areas that are considered international waters, hampering freedom of navigation,” he said.

Earlier, Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution 659, calling on the government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), to sponsor before the UNGA a resolution that calls on China to stop its harassment of Filipino vessels in the WPS.

“As far back as 2016, through the landmark arbitral ruling, it hasbeen established that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights over Filipino resources. It has also been proven that

China breached its obligations under international law when it violated our sovereign rights over our continental shelf and exclusive economic zone. This is a clear and unequivocal decision,” Hontiveros said.

She added that the Hague ruling will never be diminished by China’s antagonistic and perpetual non-compliance.

Also, she said that although a UN General Assembly Resolution is not legally binding, it carries significant political weight and serves as an expression of the will and consensus of the international community, with the potential to shape international norms, influence national policies, and provide guidance for the work of other UN organs, specialized agencies, and regional organizations.

Gabriela Women’s party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas on Sunday joined Zubiri’s call for the Philippines to present China’s repeated violations of the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on the West Philippine Sea to the United Nations.

She said President Marcos Jr. should openly condemn China’s military aggression and the United States’ intervention which has put the Philippines in the middle of Washington and Beijing’s increased jostling for global superiority.

“We fully support the call to bring the issue to the UN and provide evidence of China’s incursions and violations of the Hague Arbitral ruling,” she said.

“It is crucial that the international community is made aware of China’s continuous reclamation of territory within our exclusive economic zone and its impact on the freedom of navigation in the region,” she added.

The ruling in 2016 affirmed the Philippines’ sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone and invalidated China’s claims over almost the entire South China Sea.

China has consistently disregarded the ruling, displaying a blatant disregard for international law and the rights of neighboring countries, Brosas said.

“We believe that every avenue should be explored to hold China accountable for its actions and to seek justice for the Philippines. The United States must also be held accountable for its aggressive military expansion in the key areas in the Philippines, which are strategically located near the West Philippine Sea,” the party-list lawmaker said.

“We must exhaust all possible legal and diplomatic avenues to assert our rights and protect our sovereignty. Gabriela Women’s Party calls on the international community to support the Philippines and stand against China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea,” she said.

Negotiations among Southeast Asian countries and China on a code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea are expected to resume in Manila next month.

In an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference in Indonesia on Thursday, Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo welcomed the completion of the second reading of the COC Single Draft Negotiating Text and said the Philippines looks forward to continuing talks on the document in August.

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