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‘National tragedy’ to call 2016 arbitral ruling as scrap of paper —Del Rosario

Former Philippine top diplomat Albert del Rosario on Thursday lamented the President's pronouncement that the 2016 arbitral ruling is a scrap of paper, stressing the international tribunal's decision is "valid and binding" and must be enforced against China.

"China, the illegal occupant in the West Philippine Sea, believes that the arbitral ruling is a mere scrap of paper. The Philippines is the country which won the arbitral ruling against China," del Rosario said in a press statement  as shared by GMA News reporter JP Soriano.

"It is, therefore, a national tragedy that the President of the Philippines takes the side of China and believes that the Arbitral ruling is a scrap of paper meant to be thrown in the waste basket, to the severe prejudice of the Filipino people," the former foreign affairs chief added.



Del Rosario, likewise, reiterated that it is President Rodrigo Duterte's job under the 1987 Constitution to defend the country's claims in the West Philippine Sea and enforce the Arbitral Award against China.

"With due respect this is not a blaming game among Filipinos, but a constitutional mandate to be acted upon against a foreign aggressor for the benefit of our country and Filipino people," he added.

This comes after Duterte, in a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday night, again downplayed the country's victory in the 2016 international ruling which invalidated China's claims in the West Philippine Sea. 2

Duterte said the ruling is a piece of paper that should be thrown in a waste basket.

Duterte also told del Rosario that he will not go to the UN to defend the country's claims as it is a "waste of time" and would disrupt Philippines' ties with China.

"P—tang ina, akala ko ba Pilipino ka? Alam mo ba ang utang na loob? Do you know the dimensions of utang na loob? 'Yong utang na loob, iba 'yong away. Ito—para tayong nandiyan na neighbor nila na naghirap, tinulungan tayo, so sinabi ko salamat. May utang na loob tayo," Duterte said.

[I thought you were Filipino? Do you know what a debt of gratitude is? So you know the dimensions of a debt of gratitude? We're like a neighbor who's suffering, they helped us, so I said thank you. We have a debt of gratitude.]—Consuelo Marquez/LDF, GMA News