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Philippines must seize chance to speak up vs. China –former envoy

Philippines must seize chance to speak up vs. China –former UN envoy

Manila should speak up and take action over its claims in the West Philippines Sea after some European states at the United Nations expressed their support for the 2016 arbitral victory against Beijing, a former envoy said.

Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV on Sunday, former Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Lauro Baja said the support from France, Germany, and the United Kingdom provides a good opportunity.

“’Yung pronouncement ng UK, France and Germany on the West Philippine Sea is a positive development for the Philippines,” Baja said.

“On that basis, dapat tayong umaksyon, dapat tayong umimik,” he said.

In a note verbale filed by the permanent mission of the UK before the UN in New Yourk, the European states referred to the arbitral ruling in 2016 which upheld the Philippines' claims based on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

"France, Germany and  the  United  Kingdom also highlight that claims in regard  to  the exercise  of  'historic  rights'  over the South  China  Sea  waters  do  not  comply  with international  law  and  UNCLOS  provisions and  recall that the arbitral  award  in  the Philippines vs. China case dating to 12 July 2016 clearly confirms this point," the note verbale said.

Baja noted that the impact of their support will depend on “how far these countries are willing to go to help us,” especially if the Philippines will bring up the issue before the United Nations.

On Friday, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario said the Philippines should raise before the United Nations its arbitral tribunal victory in 2016 over China.

Earlier, DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. expressed opposition to Del Rosario's bid to bring the arbitral accord before the United Nations General Assembly, arguing that opening his mouth about the topic will only subject the country’s legitimate win to a debate.  

“We won it already. Why litigate something you already won?” Locsin pointed out.  —LBG/KG, GMA News