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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

House leaders support plans to take China to court again

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House leaders have expressed their support for the government’s plan to file new cases against China over its illegal activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Assistant Majority Leader and Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Jil Bongalon said it is only right for the Philippines to adopt a more assertive approach in defending the nation’s sovereign rights by pursuing legal action against China.

“I guess we are already tired [of] the diplomatic approach, asking China to stop this and stop that. So, I guess this is a positive development on the part of the administration to collect pieces of evidence so that we can file a case against China,” Bongalon said.

“This is a declaration that we will not accept any kind of bullying by a powerful country like China. So, I guess this is a positive development on the administration wherein they’re leading our country in making a more credible and more decisive step in asserting our rights in the WPS,” he added.

The National Security Council (NSC) earlier said the Philippines has started collecting evidence in filing new cases against China over its illegal actions in the WPS.

According to the NSC, the evidence gathered will be forwarded to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for the country’s next legal action against China.

In 2013, the Philippines initiated arbitral proceedings against China, leading to the 2016 ruling by the Hague-based Arbitral Tribunal that deemed China’s claims—including its nine-dash line, recent land reclamation efforts, and other activities in Philippine waters—unlawful.

Deputy Majority Leader and PBA Party-list Rep. Margarita Nograles emphasized the significance of evidence and a measured response to address the situation in WPS. “It cannot be taken lightly and we can see that we do not fight violence with violence,” she said.

For his part, Assistant Majority Leader and Manila Rep. Ernesto Dionisio, Jr. said: “Any evidence that will help our case against the bullying country will help us fight for our sovereignty.”

Dionisio also cited President Marcos’s stance, particularly the deployment of assets in the WPS, as a powerful message to China and the world that the Philippines will not yield to bullying tactics.

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