Former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario on Friday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to seek the support of other countries to pressure China into complying with the 2016 ruling of a UN tribunal that invalidated Beijing’s excessive claims in the South China Sea in favor of the Philippines.
“Please, Mr. President, get the support of other countries to pressure China to comply with the arbitral ruling,” Del Rosario said, referring to the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that Duterte invoked this week before the UN General Assembly.
Del Rosario also lashed back at presidential spokesman Harry Roque for questioning his personal qualifications.
“We wish to say that this is not about me. This is about our countrymen and the West Philippine Sea,” Del Rosario said.
He said he strongly advocated the enforcement of the arbitral ruling “to stop China from continuously and illegally seizing our lands and waters.”
“This is about China taking our food, oil and gas that form part of our national patrimony reserved for Filipinos to help our country live and prosper,” he said.
“This is about our fishermen, whose livelihood is being taken away by China. A large number of them were rammed at sea and, were it not for our Vietnamese neighbors, mercilessly left to die in the water,” he added.
“This is about our coral reef systems and breeding grounds of fish which took thousands of years to form and, in a short span of time, destroyed by China to construct its military facilities and artificial islands in the Spratlys,” Del Rosario said.
He pointed out that the Constitution mandates the President, government officials and the military to secure the country’s sovereignty.
“When China, in flagrant violation of international law, was bullying our President with threats of war, where was the Palace spokesperson? Throughout these years, we have been calling upon our countrymen to unite and protect our West Philippine Sea,” Del Rosario said.