By Pia Lee-Brago
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines’ victory in the arbitration case against China over the South China Sea will stand forever and the government should not weaken the protection that a rules-based system provides amid Beijing’s continued aggressiveness in the disputed seas, the country’s former top diplomat has underscored.
“We cannot forget what the Philippines has gained from the tribunal outcome and may still hope to gain, through desired leadership, from the protection of the rules-based system. It must be realized that we cannot weaken that protection by picking and choosing when to promote the law and when to ignore it,” former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario said during Thursday’s launching of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s e-book titled “The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea” at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City.
Del Rosario said China’s aggressiveness has not ceased as Beijing prevented the Philippines from carrying out even the most basic exploration and exploitation activities in areas where only “the Philippines has rights” and which “The Hague tribunal, working in a neutral and independent manner, affirmed in last year’s ruling.”
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