Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Tuesday reiterated his call on President Rodrigo Duterte to bring up for enforcement before the United Nations the Philippines’ 2016 arbitral victory against China over the disputed South China Sea.
Del Rosario expressed hope that Duterte would finally listen to the Filipinos that the “government should raise the Arbitral Ruling in the UN General Assembly and other international forums for action.”
He says there is international support for the Philippines’ legal rights in the West Philippines Sea.
"The position of France, Germany and the UK also unequivocally supports the will of the Filipino people, as shown in surveys, that our government should raise the Arbitral Ruling in the UN General Assembly and other international forums," Del Rosario said in a statement.
“Together with the US, these European nations served to confirm our position that there is international support for our country’s lawful rights in our West Philippine Sea as ruled by the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague.”
Duterte is scheduled to participate in the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly for the first time on Sept. 22 at 9 p.m., which will be held via videoconference.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Assistant for Foreign Affairs Robert Borje confirmed Duterte’s attendance as the 12th speaker during the debate.
The General Assembly’s annual general debate takes place when heads of state, government and other senior national representatives present their views on pressing world issues.
Duterte is expected to discuss the Philippines’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, human rights and justice, Malacañang said.
Del Rosario says it is only appropriate for Manila to raise the Arbitral Ruling over the South China Sea before the UN General Assembly due to China’s continuing “unlawful oppression in the disputed waterways.
“We all know fully well about China’s continuing unlawful oppression in the South China Sea, which include preventing our fishermen from pursuing their livelihood in Scarborough Shoal and in our West Philippine Sea, blocking the development of our natural resources, mercilessly destroying our marine environment, erecting military facilities in our waters and ridiculously confronting our President with the threat of war.”
Del Rosario earlier said Manila should not submit to the threats of force or war from China.
"It is a grave insult to our forefathers who died and fought for our country’s self-respect and independence if we only cower in fear before such threats. It is also a grave insult to our children and grandchildren if we give away our waters and territories in the face of such threats," Del Rosario said.
"As we had previously said, we are opposed to war—as we should be. But if threatened by the use of force, we should be ready to inflict, at the very least, a bloody nose on any attacker who is out to harm us.”