House adopts resolution supporting filing of arbitration case vs China

THE House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously adopted House Resolution 3004 principally authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., which strongly supports the filing by His Excellency President Benigno Aquino III of an arbitration case against China based on Article 287 and Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas.

The resolution likewise called on the entire nation to unite to protect the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.

The resolution co-authored by Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II of Mandaluyong City and Minority Leader Danilo Suarez of Quezon cited that in order to protect its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines has no other recourse but to institute compulsory arbitration proceedings against China under Annex VII of UNCLOS.

It stressed the Philippines, in the spirit of good and friendly relations with China, has exhausted almost all available tools through its three-track approach – political, diplomatic, and legal – to peacefully settle the dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

But China declined the earlier invitation by the Philippines to bring the matter peacefully under any of the available dispute settlement mechanisms under Part XV of UNCLOS, it stated.

The resolution said UNCLOS prescribes the maritime entitlements of coastal states as well as their rights, jurisdiction and obligations over these maritime entitlements.

As parties to the UNCLOS, both China and the Philippines have to fulfill in good faith the obligation to exercise the rights, jurisdiction and freedoms recognized under UNCLOS in a manner which would not constitute an abuse of right according to the resolution.

“China violates not only the rights and jurisdictions of the Philippines but also of other coastal states by claiming virtually the entire South China Sea through its nine-dash line claim. China further violates the rights and jurisdictions of the Philippines through its continuous aggressive assertion of its nine-dash line claim in the West Philippine Sea,’ the resolution said.

Earlier, foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the country has taken the step of bringing China before the Arbitral Tribunal in order to achieve a peaceful and durable solution to the dispute over the West Philippine Sea.

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