Filtered By: Topstories

Risa: Gov't should rally UN to call out China aggression in WPS

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros called on the Marcos administration to urge the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to call out China’s aggression against Filipino fisherfolk in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Hontiveros echoed the call earlier made by retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio in her Senate Resolution 659, which states that the Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), should sponsor a resolution before the UN General Assembly that will call on China to stop its harassment of Filipino vessels in the WPS.

“As far back as 2016, through the landmark Arbitral ruling, it has been established that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights over Filipino resources. It has also been proven that China breached its obligations under international law when it violated our sovereign rights over our continental shelf and exclusive economic zone. This is a clear and unequivocal decision,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

“The Hague Ruling will never be diminished by China’s antagonistic and perpetual non-compliance.”

China claimed the entire West Philippine Sea even if the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration junked the expansive claim in its July 2016 ruling. The same 2016 Hague court decision also declared the Panatag Shoal a a common fishing ground for countries, and outlawed China’s aggression against Philippine vessels, including preventing Filipino fishermen from accessing the Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal.

Further, the Hague ruling upheld that the Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, and Recto (Reed) Bank are all within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone as provided by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

China, however, refuses to recognize the Hague ruling to this day.

Just last week, Filipino fisherfolk in Pag-asa Island, which is within the Philippines’ 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone, lamented that China had been blocking their access to the rich fishing ground, leaving them distressed and hungry.

Hontiveros also said that her Resolution calling out Chinese aggression on Filipino fisherfolk also honors the legacy of the late Senator Rodolfo Biazon, a staunch advocate for the country’s interests in the WPS.

“Former Senator Biazon is known for his unwavering advocacy of the interests of the Philippines, especially in the WPS. In 2021, he called on government to make a clear stand on the disputed territories and urged the National Security Council to map out a united national position on the issue,” Hontiveros said.

“His commitment to uphold the integrity of our territorial waters inspired this Senate resolution,” Hontiveros added.


Hontiveros’s Resolution also states that while a UN General Assembly Resolution was not legally binding, it carried significant political weight.

“The UN Resolution will serve as expressions of the will and consensus of the international community, with the potential to shape international norms, influence national policies, and provide guidance for the work of other UN organs, specialized agencies, and regional organizations,” Hontiveros said.

“Despite the Hague Ruling, China continues to harass our navy, remain hostile to our fisherfolks, and put the fishing industry in the area under jeopardy. Beijing’s blunt refusal to accept her legal fate should have serious consequences. The UN General Assembly should be able to tell China to behave,” she added.

GMA News Online had sought the Palace's response to Hontiveros' resolution, but Malacañang had yet to reply as of posting time. — DVM, GMA Integrated News