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11月21日のまにら新聞から

Palace says arbitral ruling "useless as of now"

[ 665 words|2018.11.21|英字 (English) ]

Malacanang said on Tuesday the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal award on the Philippines in the South China Sea is "useless as of now."

This as Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo questioned the timing of the release of a Social Weather Stations survey, showing 84 percent of the Filipinos expressed opposition to government’s inaction on China’s intrusion in claimed territories while 87 percent said it is important that the Philippines regains control of the islands occupied by China in the West Philippine Sea.

"We find the timing of the release of the results of the survey conducted by Social Weather Stations last September 15-23 suspect considering that such was made public on the day of Chinese President Xi Jing Ping’s first state visit to the Philippines. This adds credence to the commonly-held belief that polling firms could be wittingly or unwittingly used for partisan purposes," he said.

Despite the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration's ruling in July 2016, favoring the Philippine petition to invalidate China's historic and sovereign claim in almost the entire South China Sea, the Duterte administration has decided to put it on the back burner.

China, which has been refusing to respect the PCA ruling, has continued with its activities in its reclaimed areas in the disputed waters.

Panelo, in a press briefing, described the PCA ruling as useless.

"The United Nations is not enforcing it. The United States is adamant in doing it too. So who will enforce it? Meanwhile, what are we going to do?" he said.

Asked if the ruling was useless, he said, "as of now."

But he added, "psychologically it benefits us because as far as the world is concerned this is ours not theirs."

He also cited the need for other countries to unite in asking China to respect the decision of the arbitral tribunal.

"In other words, there must be a collective action by the countries of the world and either persuade or pressure China into respecting an arbitral decision. We cannot give up this claim simply because it’s already ours. We have won it, and it will be there forever," Panelo said.

But asked how other countries would suppprt the Philippines to insist on the PCA ruling against China if the Duterte administration itself has not been doing it, the spokesman said, "As I said, the ruling is there, you cannot disown it, you cannot?nobody can take it away from you."

"What the President is doing right now since it cannot be enforced is using another tack to get things that he

wants to get from them through negotiation," he added.

As to the SWS survey, Panelo said the Palace considers the questionnaire "flawed."

"We consider the question skewed as it misleads the public to believe and suggests that the current government has not acted on China’s activities on the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea. This is far from the truth," he added.

He insisted the Duterte administration has been consistent in its stance in protecting the Philippine territorial claims and maritime entitlements.

He cited the formation of a bilateral consultation mechanism with China.

The BCM is an important venue in amicably resolving territorial disputes and to strengthen the momentum of cooperation in matters of common interest, such as the protection of our fishermen, he said.

"We, therefore, view the results with skepticism as the reliability of the data is in question," he said.

As to the finding showing Filipinos having a high distrust of China compared to countries like the United States and Japan, Panelo said it is expected because the two countries are the Philippines' traditional allies.

"Hence it is expected that there is higher level of trust in these two countries. Our country’s renewed ties with our giant neighbor in the North provides us a welcome opportunity for the public to know and understand China better. It does not happen overnight but we are confident that a more favorable public appreciation of China would happen in the future," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS