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Senate adopts resolution ‘strongly condemning’ Chinese incursions

The Senate on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning China's incursions in the West Philippine Sea and its continued harassment of Filipino fishermen.

The measure also exhorted the Philippine government to take action in asserting its sovereign rights over the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The resolution also calls on China to stop its “illegal activities” in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and with the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

The adopted Senate Resolution 718 was the outcome of an all-member caucus on Monday where the senators discussed with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and AFP chief Romeo Brawner Jr. the appropriate action on Senator Risa Hontiveros’ resolution which urges the Department of Foreign Affairs to bring China’s aggression before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

In his manifestation after the adoption, Zubiri explained that Hontiveros’ resolution was not “watered down” but rather strengthened after the meeting with the country’s Foreign Affairs chief and the top military official.

“We came out with a strong consensus yesterday after the discussions with the West Philippine Sea Task Force, together with the AFP chief-of-staff  General Brawner and DFA Secretary Manalo and actually we never watered down the resolution that we filed, we actually strengthened the first resolution that we initially filed with Sen. Risa,” Zubiri said.

“I think what happened here is we strengthened the position of the government. Now, we gave them several options to choose on how to deal with our neighbors in the north,” he added.

Among the courses of action enumerated in the adopted resolution are:

-Bringing international attention to China’s harassment of Filipino fishermen in the Philippine EEZ and its continued violation of the Hague Ruling and the UNCLOS

-Utilizing international fora to rally multilateral support for the enforcement of the Hague Ruling and raise awareness on the real situation in the WPS

-Engaging like-minded countries in various international organizations, meetings, and other fora to call on China to respect the Hague Ruling and the UNCLOS and subject to necessity and prudence

-Filing a resolution before the UNGA to call for the cessation of all activities that harass the Philippine vessels and violate the Philippines’ established rights in the WPS

-Pursuing such other diplomatic modes as the DFA may deem appropriate and necessary

—LDF, GMA Integrated News