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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

INFANTA PANGASINAN: WHAT EXACTLY DID WE WIN? ASK FISHERMEN
[RELATED: Yasay on why he didn’t seem happy: We cannot gloat about our triumphs]
[RELATED(2): Pinoys raring to fish again in Panatag]


JULY 14 -Like most fishermen in the seaside village of Cato here, Joseph Daroca was not aware that the Philippines had filed a case against China over the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea. When told that the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague had ruled that the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal was part of the Philippines, Daroca’s face lit up. “It’s good if that’s the case,” said Daroca, 44. He had stopped joining fishing trips to the shoal since January last year after their boat was driven away by the Chinese Coast Guard.
On Tuesday, the PCA said China had no historic title over the West Philippine Sea and that it violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines. Cheering A few fishermen who gathered at the village plaza cheered and waved makeshift flags when they learned about the UN-backed tribunal’s decision.  “If the shoal is finally open [to us], thank you very much. You won’t be seeing any boat docked here anymore. All of them will be in the sea even during typhoons because we can always run to the shoal for refuge,” Daroca said. “The Chinese should now leave the shoal. It should be guarded now by an American warship so that we will be protected,” he said. “But if [the Chinese] won’t leave, what’s next?” asked Jowe Legaspi, a village council member and a fishing boat operator. “We might be shot if we insist on fishing there,” said Legaspi, who was one of the 16 Infanta fishermen who asked the United Nations last year to direct China to respect their rights to their traditional fishing grounds at Panatag Shoal. Right to livelihood In a petition to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the fishermen said China must respect their right to livelihood and adequate food and their right to life. “Maybe, what we should do now is to wait for a while. Let’s see what will happen next,” Legaspi said. Daroca recently went on fishing trips to the nearest payao (artificial reefs), 100 to 120 kilometers from this town. READ MORE...RELATED, Yasay on why he didn’t seem happy: We cannot gloat about our triumphs...RELATED(2) Pinoys raring to fish again in Panatag...

ALSO: SC justice asks fishermen to be prudent despite ruling on China Sea
[PH UN delegate Florin Hilbay, in the same conference attended by Jardeleza, clarified that the PCA's award does not claim sovereignty over territory, and purely covers the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China. his will not determine ownership on the territory. And so this is not meant to determine the territory, this is meant to determine sovereign rights," he said.]
[RELATED: PH can now assert right to explore oil in S. China Sea—Hilbay]

[RELATED(2): Spratlys pushed as marine park by Justice Carpio]


JULY 14 -JARDELEZA
Author Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza on Wednesday called on Filipino fishermen to observe prudence in the disputed areas of the South China Sea even after the Permanent Court of Arbitration favored the Philippines in its 15-point case against China's excessive claims in the area. In a media conference in Manila, Jardeleza said both the Philippine and Chinese governments should first be given time to digest the Permanent Court of Arbitration's 501-page award to the Philippines, before further steps are taken. Jardeleza was the country's solicitor general when the Philippines filed its unpredcedented maritime complaint against China in 2013. "Nagbabasa ang magkabilang panig. Sana walang insidente na mangyari.... Ang gabay ay manggagaling sa local government. Mag-hunusdili. Huwag magpadalus-dalos," said Jardeleza. "Mas mahalaga sa lokal na pamahalaan na sila ay nakikipag-ugnayan sa mga mangingisda hangga't mayroon nang malinaw na alituntunin. Sa pagkaintindi namin, iyan ay pinag-uusapan kung ano safeguards para hindi mapasama ang ating mangingisda," he added. The Hague-based court invalidated China’s so-called nine-dash line, its basis to claim rights to the disputed areas. Saying the award was null and void without any binding force, China vowed to take all necessary measures to protect its "sovereignty" in the South China Sea. Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who was also a member of the Philippine delegation to The Hague, stressed that China was a party to the UNCLOS, and was legally bound to comply with the ruling. READ MORE...RELATED, PH can now assert right to explore oil in S. China Sea—Hilbay...RELATED(2), Spratlys pushed as marine park...

ALSO: Judgment victory for all–Aquino
[RELATED: Rep Biazon wants recognition for Aquino, PH team after win vs China]


JULY 14 -Former President Benigno Aquino III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/ JOAN BONDOC
Former President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday said the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the Philippines’ case against China should be viewed as a “victory” not only for the country but also for the world as it brought “clarity” on how nations should engage with one another in the South China Sea based on the rule of law. Aquino was the chief architect of the Philippines’ foreign policy position that led to the petition seeking to clarify the maritime boundaries in the South China Sea, as China’s expansionism reached the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea. “At this point, may I suggest that instead of viewing this decision as a victory of one party over another, the best way to look at this judgment is that it is a victory for all,” he said. “The clarity rendered now establishes better conditions that enable countries to engage each other, bearing in mind their duties and rights within a context that espouses equality and amity.” 
“Let us bear in mind: Where there is conflict over claims and opinions, cooperation cannot exist. Now that the rules are even clearer, we can all move forward as a global community. Without doubt, this long-running dispute is now closer to having a permanent solution,” he said. CONTINUE READING...RELATED, Rep Biazon wants recognition for Aquino, PH team after win vs China...

ALSO: U.S. launches quiet diplomacy to ease South China Sea tensions
[RELATED: China vows ‘decisive response’ to sea provocations]
[RELATED(2): EU joins call for peaceful end to West Philippine Sea dispute]


JULY 14 -In this Oct. 27, 2015, file photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat circles a Filipino fishing boat near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. China has intensified the drumbeat of its opposition to a milestone ruling expected Tuesday July 12, 2016, by an international tribunal that could threaten its expansive claims in the South China Sea. (Renato Etac via AP, File FILE – In this Oct. 27, 2015, file photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat circles a Filipino fishing boat near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. China has intensified the drumbeat of its opposition to a milestone ruling expected Tuesday July 12, 2016, by an international tribunal that could threaten its expansive claims in the South China Sea. (Renato Etac via AP, File By Lesley Wroughton and John Walcott
WASHINGTON – The United States is using quiet diplomacy to persuade the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and other Asian nations not to move aggressively to capitalize on an international court ruling that denied China’s claims to the South China Sea, several U.S. administration officials said on Wednesday. “What we want is to quiet things down so these issues can be addressed rationally instead of emotionally,” said one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private diplomatic messages.
Some were sent through U.S. embassies abroad and foreign missions in Washington, while others were conveyed directly to top officials by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials, the sources said. “This is a blanket call for quiet, not some attempt to rally the region against China, which would play into a false narrative that the U.S. is leading a coalition to contain China,” the official added. The effort to calm the waters following the court ruling in The Hague on Tuesday suffered a setback when Taiwan dispatched a warship to the area, with President Tsai Ing-wen telling sailors that their mission was to defend Taiwan’s maritime territory. READ MORE...RELATED, China vows ‘decisive response’ to sea provocations...RELATED(2), EU joins call for peaceful end to West Philippine Sea dispute...

ALSO: Duterte asks Ramos to start bilateral talks with China over sea row [RELATED: Duterte’s plan to hold bilateral talks with China 'most practical way out' - UP prof]
[RELATED(2): FVR seeks mission parameters as special envoy]


JULY 14 -President Rodrigo Duterte has asked former President Fidel Ramos to go to China to initiate bilateral talks with the country's leaders, GMA News Ian Cruz has reported.
Duterte also raised the economic implications of the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration's recent ruling favoring the Philippines' exclusive economic zone over China's historic claims in the South China Sea. "War is not an option. So what’s the other side? Peaceful talks. I cannot give you the wherewithal now. I want to consult many people including President Ramos," Duterte said during a testimonial dinner in his honor at the Club Filipino. "I would like to respectfully ask him to go to China and start the talks," he added. Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier in the day told reporters that Duterte wanted to pursue bilateral talks with China. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on Tuesday ruled to favor the Philippines in most of the 15 points it raised against China's claims in the South China Sea. Duterte met the Cabinet in Malacañang shortly after the tribunal released its ruling via email. Economic implications The Chief Executive expressed concern overthe ruling's implications particularly on the country's economy. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte’s plan to hold bilateral talks with China 'most practical way out' - UP prof...RELATED(2) FVR seeks mission parameters as special envoy...


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What exactly did we win? ask fishermen

INFANTA, PANGASINAN, JULY 18, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Allan Macatuno, Gabriel Cardinoza @inquirerdotnet - Like most fishermen in the seaside village of Cato here, Joseph Daroca was not aware that the Philippines had filed a case against China over the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

When told that the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague had ruled that the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal was part of the Philippines, Daroca’s face lit up.

“It’s good if that’s the case,” said Daroca, 44. He had stopped joining fishing trips to the shoal since January last year after their boat was driven away by the Chinese Coast Guard.

On Tuesday, the PCA said China had no historic title over the West Philippine Sea and that it violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Cheering

A few fishermen who gathered at the village plaza cheered and waved makeshift flags when they learned about the UN-backed tribunal’s decision.

“If the shoal is finally open [to us], thank you very much. You won’t be seeing any boat docked here anymore. All of them will be in the sea even during typhoons because we can always run to the shoal for refuge,” Daroca said.

“The Chinese should now leave the shoal. It should be guarded now by an American warship so that we will be protected,” he said.

“But if [the Chinese] won’t leave, what’s next?” asked Jowe Legaspi, a village council member and a fishing boat operator.

“We might be shot if we insist on fishing there,” said Legaspi, who was one of the 16 Infanta fishermen who asked the United Nations last year to direct China to respect their rights to their traditional fishing grounds at Panatag Shoal.

Right to livelihood
In a petition to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the fishermen said China must respect their right to livelihood and adequate food and their right to life.

“Maybe, what we should do now is to wait for a while. Let’s see what will happen next,” Legaspi said.

Daroca recently went on fishing trips to the nearest payao (artificial reefs), 100 to 120 kilometers from this town.

READ MORE...

Scarborough Shoal, is about 240 kilometers southwest of this town. It is a triangular chain of reefs and rocks surrounding a lagoon, and has a perimeter of 46 km and an area of 150 sq km, making it a rich fishing ground.

Accept ruling

In Zambales province, Larry Alaras, 48, a fisherman from Subic town, had this message for China: “Accept the ruling and leave our territories.”

Before he and his crew sailed off to the shoal on Wednesday, Alaras, captain of the fishing boat Alexander Jonathan, said the ruling justified their right to fish in the area.

Their boat had been harassed by Chinese patrols near the shoal in April, he said.

“We were repeatedly driven away by armed Chinese coast guards. We are hoping that they will not stir up trouble from now on,” he said.

Arnold Bacalla, another fisherman, said he had reservations about the impact of the ruling on China.

“We are a little afraid of what China will do next. All we can do is hope that they will leave the shoal so things will get better for fishermen like us,” Alaras said.

Welcome development

Efren Medrano, chair of Lanao-Bangan Fishermen’s Association in Iba, Zambales’ capital town, described the UN verdict as a welcome development for the fishermen.

“We are now clear about what we are fighting for,” he said.

Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla said the decision was historic.

“Although Zambaleños know there is still a long way to go in this fight, our fishermen are hopeful that they may be able to freely exercise their economic rights and freely fish in Scarborough Shoal,” she said.

Better relationship

Mayor Arsenia Lim of Masinloc town said, “I hope our country and China will have a better relationship [after the ruling].”
Legaspi said the UN decision had made him think of investing in bigger boats again. He used to own 10 fishing boats, but when the Chinese began guarding the shoal in 2012 and started chasing away fishermen, he sold all of them.

The boats of other fishermen in the village were put on dry dock.

On Tuesday, 20 boats lingered near Hermana Mayor Island at the mouth of Dasol Bay. They were waiting for clearance from the Philippine Coast Guard to venture into the sea.

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Yasay on why he didn’t seem happy: We cannot gloat about our triumphs Published July 13, 2016 8:37pm By RIE TAKUMI, GMA News


Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. File photo
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. on Wednesday explained his less than jubilant behavior after the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled to favor the Philippines in its 15-point case against China's claims in the South China Sea.

"If I smile they say why am I smiling? If I don't smile they say why am I not smiling? But as I've said, we have to be circumspect and restrained in our reaction," Yasay said.

"We cannot gloat about our triumphs. We're happy about it and we could not be more than pleased at the decision of the [tribunal] but we must fully understand it and wait for the interpretative opinion of our lawyers," he added.

Yasay said the government would be "restrained" in its comments while the ruling was being studied.

"We always maintain that we have to be magnanimous in victory. You can't be provocative," Yasay said.

Yasay said the government would make its next move as soon as it fully understood "the implications, coverage, and nuances of their decision."

He called on all stakeholders, including China, to practice restraint.

"Let's wait for the interpretative opinion of our lawyers then we will be making our... they will be submitting this to the president, to the cabinet so we can really chart the proper court of action to take," Yasay said. —NB, GMA News

------------------------------

RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

Pinoys raring to fish again in Panatag By Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 14, 2016 - 12:00am 4 165 googleplus1 1


Fishermen from Zambales are preparing to return to their traditional fishing ground in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc, which has been under de facto Chinese control since 2012.

MANILA, Philippines – Fishermen from Zambales are preparing to return to their traditional fishing ground in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc, which has been under de facto Chinese control since 2012.

In a radio interview, Masinloc Mayor Arsenia Lim yesterday said the fishermen are now organizing an expedition, not only to fish in Panatag Shoal, but also to test how far the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling could go as far as China is concerned.

Fishermen planning to return to Panatag will be required to register their names and their number, she said.

Lim will ask for assistance from the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to oversee the fishermen.

“I will ask help from the Coast Guard to escort our fishermen,” she said. “Those who are going out there to fish will have to register their names, for us to see that they’re all right and no one is missing upon their return.”

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Navy need not escort fishermen returning to Panatag Shoal as that is the job of the Coast Guard.

“But we are not talking about anybody escorting anybody there. We are still studying our courses of action. The President has yet to decide on the matter.”

Former lawmaker Roilo Golez said yesterday that China cannot prevent Filipinos from fishing in Panatag Shoal based on the ruling of the United Nations arbitration court.

“They should be allowed to fish there, along with the Chinese,” he said. “Panatag is part of our 200-mile exclusive economic zone, which the arbitral court recognized.

“We won back 80 percent of our EEZ when the court junked China’s nine-dash line claim over most of the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.”

Chinese Coast Guard seized control of Panatag Shoal in 2012 after a brief standoff with the Philippine Coast Guard.

Golez also said under the arbitral court ruling, Ayungin (second Thomas) Shoal, Recto (Reed) Bank and Panganiban (Mischief) Reef belong to the Philippines, as they are part of our EEZ.

He said the government should allow the resumption of oil and gas exploration activities in Recto Bank, which is believed to have natural gas deposits larger than those in Malampaya.

“Recto Bank could be an economic windfall for us,” he said.

Golez, who served as national security adviser during the Arroyo administration, decried the “lukewarm” response of the Duterte administration to the arbitral court’s award.

“This is a big win for us,” he said. “We should be celebrating our victory instead of belittling it.”

Golez believes that China, though initially sounding intransigent, would eventually give in to world pressure, give up its claim over the entire West Philippine Sea and recognize its neighbors’ EEZ.

Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and even Indonesia benefitted directly from the UN court’s decision, he added.

China’s nine-dash line claim also encroaches on the EEZs of Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei, while Chinese fishermen are straying in waters near Indonesia, Golez said.

In Pangasinan, families of fishermen going to Panatag Shoal hope the decision of the UN tribunal ruling favoring the Philippines would be for real.

Wilma Baoyan, wife of fisherman Gilbert Baoyan, told The STAR yesterday that they learned of the pro-Philippines ruling Tuesday night on television and were very happy about it.

“But is it already sure that the Panatag Shoal really belongs to us? I hope they (Chinese) would no longer disturb us because our fishermen are only trying to earn a living,” she said in Filipino.

Wilma said other fishermen and their families in Barangay Cato, Infanta, Pangasinan welcomed the news.

“I hope this ruling is real,” she said.

Her husband had experienced being shooed away with water canon by the Chinese Coast Guard along Panatag Shoal and their boat was also bumped, Wilma said.

Celine Francisco of Barangay Lipay, Sta. Cruz, Zambales, told The STAR in a separate interview that they felt relief after the favorable ruling.

Francisco’s father and brother, Oscar Tabat Sr. and Oscar Tabat Jr., are among those who go fishing in Panatag Shoal. They were not around during the interview as they went to Subic to fish.

The Tabats had also experienced harassment in the past by Chinese Coast Guard manning the shoal.

Francisco said they still feel unsure if the Chinese would leave Panatag Shoal following the ruling.

“Yes we won, but what if they (Chinese) remain in that place?” she said in Filipino.

Francisco said fishermen in their area converged Tuesday night as soon as they learned the good news.

“Some of them were clapping their hands but there is still a felling of uncertainty,” she said.

“We are not yet sure. They might become more aggressive and would not accept the decision.”

They are praying the next time they hear news about Panatag Shoal, the Chinese would have left the place, Francisco said.

In Aurora, the country’s largest environmental group is deploying a rescue mission to the South China Sea following the decision of the UN tribunal.

The 444,000-strong Noble Blue Falcons Inc. is sending the rescue units to protect people flocking to Panganiban Reef, Ayungin Shoal and Recto Bank off Palawan. – With Jess Diaz, Eva Visperas, Manny Galvez


GMA NEWS NETWORK

SC justice asks fishermen to be prudent despite ruling on South China Sea Published July 13, 2016 7:31pm By MARK MERUEÑAS, GMA News


JARDELEZA

Author Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza on Wednesday called on Filipino fishermen to observe prudence in the disputed areas of the South China Sea even after the Permanent Court of Arbitration favored the Philippines in its 15-point case against China's excessive claims in the area.

In a media conference in Manila, Jardeleza said both the Philippine and Chinese governments should first be given time to digest the Permanent Court of Arbitration's 501-page award to the Philippines, before further steps are taken.

Jardeleza was the country's solicitor general when the Philippines filed its unpredcedented maritime complaint against China in 2013.

"Nagbabasa ang magkabilang panig. Sana walang insidente na mangyari.... Ang gabay ay manggagaling sa local government. Mag-hunusdili. Huwag magpadalus-dalos," said Jardeleza.

"Mas mahalaga sa lokal na pamahalaan na sila ay nakikipag-ugnayan sa mga mangingisda hangga't mayroon nang malinaw na alituntunin. Sa pagkaintindi namin, iyan ay pinag-uusapan kung ano safeguards para hindi mapasama ang ating mangingisda," he added.

The Hague-based court invalidated China’s so-called nine-dash line, its basis to claim rights to the disputed areas.

Saying the award was null and void without any binding force, China vowed to take all necessary measures to protect its "sovereignty" in the South China Sea.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who was also a member of the Philippine delegation to The Hague, stressed that China was a party to the UNCLOS, and was legally bound to comply with the ruling.

READ MORE...

Hilbay, in the same conference attended by Jardeleza, clarified that the PCA's award does not claim sovereignty over territory, and purely covers the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China.

"This will not determine ownership on the territory. And so this is not meant to determine the territory, this is meant to determine sovereign rights," he said.

Hilbay said he was hoping that Philippine diplomats would have the power to enforce the PCA decision, even as he acknowledged the possibility that the Duterte administration would engage bilateral talks with China.

"I really do not want to speculate on what is going to happen. I will assume that our diplomats understand the consequences and the possible problems of enforcing the decision," said Hilbay.

"What they will advise the LGUs and the fisherfolk in the area will depend on what they believe will be the appropriate and effective strategy to ensure the proper implementation of the decision," he added.

Jardeleza's fellow SC magistrate, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio earlier in the day said the Philippine government should talk to the Chinese government to allow Filipino fishermen to fish in disputed waters.

Filipino fishermen have repeatedly complained in the past about being harassed by Chinese authorities while fishing off both Philippine territories and disputed seas. —NB, GMA News

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

PH can now assert right to explore oil in S. China Sea—Hilbay By: Tetch Torres-Tupas
@T2TupasINQ INQUIRER.net 06:16 PM July 13th, 2016


HILBAY

HE Philippines can already assert its right to explore oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea following the favorable decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

Oil explorations in Reed Bank have been suspended since 2011 after Chinese ships chased a survey ship contracted by Philex Petroleum.

Reed Bank or Recto Bank is a large underwater mount that rises just nine to 45 meters short of the sea level.

“The characterization of the Reed Bank is that it is a fully submerged area within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines and so, from the legal stand point, we have exclusive economic rights over Reed Bank,” former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, one of the Philippine delegates who argued the country’s case before the PCA, said at a press conference.

“The Philippines would have exclusive economic rights and because there are no overlapping entitlements, exclusive means exclusive,” Hilbay added.

Hilbay, however, pointed out that there is a difference between having a legal right and being able to effectively enforce such right.

Hilbay and his fellow delegate, Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, said enforcement of the decision will be up to the country’s chief diplomat—President Rodrigo Duterte.

-----------------------------

RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

Spratlys pushed as marine park By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 18, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Justice Antonio Carpio, senior associate justice of the Philippine Supreme Court, expounds his views on the ruling by the Hague-based UN international arbitration tribunal favoring the Philippines in its case against China on the South China Sea during a forum Friday, July 15, 2016 in suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. The tribunal issued its ruling Tuesday, July 12, 2016 in The Hague saying there is no legal basis for China's "nine-dash line" claiming rights to much of the South China Sea. Carpio is a member of the Philippine panel that filed the case against China in The Hague. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has proposed a “win-win” solution that the government can offer China to finally resolve the maritime dispute in the South China Sea.

In an interview, Carpio suggested that the government should push for a peace agreement with China and other claimants in the Spratlys by declaring the area as an international marine park and protected area, as originally suggested by American marine biology professor John McManus.

Carpio, a member of the legal team that prepared the Philippines’ case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), believes the proposal would make claimant-nations like China and the Philippines “suspend all their territorial claims for 50 or 100 years and allow the reef to regrow and be the breeding ground of fish.”

“The larvae of the eggs that are spawned in the Spratlys are carried by currents all the way to the coast of China, Vietnam, Luzon, Palawan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Sulu Sea. Everybody benefits,” Carpio explained.

Carpio also echoed the proposal of McManus to convert military facilities into marine research and eco-tourism facilities.

Under the plan, naval military forces would not be allowed to patrol the area and only civilian coast guards would be allowed to have personnel and ships there.

Carpio noted that this proposed system had worked in resolving the tensions between Israel and Jordan in the Red Sea.

As part of that peace agreement, claimant-nations also agreed to put up a peace park over the disputed water area.

“It is a proposal that is a win-win solution for everybody. Nobody loses face because the disputes are set aside for the next 50 to 100 years and everybody benefits from that solution,” he stressed.

Carpio pointed out that the PCA award only resolved the maritime dispute, but did not settle the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China, particularly on Scarborough Shoal, due to lack of jurisdiction on the matter.

But he still believes it is best to prevent further dredging and reclamation in the disputed islands and reefs so as to preserve what is left “for the benefit of all the coastal states.”

In its award issued last Tuesday, the PCA upheld major submissions of the Philippines, including the declaration of China’s nine-dash line as contrary to United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) and has no basis in law.

The award also affirmed Philippines’ stance that China’s move to shoo away Filipino fishermen at the disputed Scarborough Shoal was unlawful.
It also declared Mischief Reef, Second Thomas Shoal and Reed Bank as “part of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Philippines, and are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China.”

Carpio, whom President Duterte consults on the matter, believes China will not easily abandon the structures it illegally built in the islands declared by PCA as Philippine territory.

“Legally, that structure there of China (in Mischief Reef) is against UNCLOS, therefore it is an illegal structure, and legally they should vacate. But of course China will not vacate. It will take time,” he said.

Carpio said what is more urgent is the development of Reed Bank, which contains natural gas.

But he noted that any joint development with China on Reed Bank would be against the Philippine Constitution.


INQUIRER

Judgment victory for all–Aquino SHARES: 122 VIEW COMMENTS By: Nikko Dizon @nikkodizonINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:26 AM July 14th, 2016


Former President Benigno Aquino III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/ JOAN BONDOC

Former President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday said the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the Philippines’ case against China should be viewed as a “victory” not only for the country but also for the world as it brought “clarity” on how nations should engage with one another in the South China Sea based on the rule of law.

Aquino was the chief architect of the Philippines’ foreign policy position that led to the petition seeking to clarify the maritime boundaries in the South China Sea, as China’s expansionism reached the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

“At this point, may I suggest that instead of viewing this decision as a victory of one party over another, the best way to look at this judgment is that it is a victory for all,” he said. “The clarity rendered now establishes better conditions that enable countries to engage each other, bearing in mind their duties and rights within a context that espouses equality and amity.”

“Let us bear in mind: Where there is conflict over claims and opinions, cooperation cannot exist. Now that the rules are even clearer, we can all move forward as a global community. Without doubt, this long-running dispute is now closer to having a permanent solution,” he said.

CONTINUE READING...

Issued at home
Filipinos celebrated the landmark ruling almost the moment they downloaded it from the PCA website on Tuesday afternoon, showing their euphoria on social media, while some personalities issued statements.

Aquino took his time in issuing his own reaction.

With his lean staff at his home on Times Street in Quezon City, the former President read line by line the 11-page press release and summary issued by the PCA. The 499-page ruling was also printed out for him.

He and his team double-checked facts and details and went through at most three drafts before finalizing his statement. The result was a carefully crafted three-page, nine-paragraph statement that reflected magnanimity and statesmanship.

“I am, of course, quite elated particularly since all the points we had raised were affirmed. We want to thank the Permanent Court of Arbitration for their fair judgment, and we would also like to extend our gratitude for the clarity with which they presented their ruling,” Aquino said.

The former President said “international law has been made clearer with this monumental decision.”

“This, of course, deals with the Philippines and China, clarifying each state’s rights and obligations; but as our lead counsel said, it also has very strong implications as far as other coastal states are concerned, with regard to Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” he added.

Aquino said the “decision to pursue arbitration was not an easy one to make.”

Game changer

“Going into arbitration was called a game changer. We foresaw and experienced the pressures in taking this route; yet until the end, we stood our ground,” he said.

He reminded his countrymen that “the disputes in the Sea Known by Many Names have gone on for decades—from our perspective, stretching as far back as the 1970s.”

“These conflicts have come about, primarily because of the differing opinions on each country’s rights and obligations,” he said, adding: “To this end, I would ask our countrymen and all people of goodwill to read the press release and summary issued by the tribunal, to gain a full understanding of the issues involved.”

Code of conduct

Aquino tenaciously brought up the issue at the regional and international forum he attended when he was President.

At every Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) special and regular summits, he pushed for the passage of a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea between the 10-nation regional bloc and China to allow smaller claimant-nations like the Philippines to protect their interests in the disputed Spratly islands.

However, Aquino stepped down from office on June 30 with Asean and China nowhere closer to achieving the goal of the document.

His campaign to seek clarity in the Philippines’ maritime rights in the Spratly islands, where nations have overlapping claims, began when the Philippines and China engaged in a standoff at the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, a rich fishing ground, in April 2012.

Freedom of navigation

The United States brokered an agreement for the navies of the Philippines and China to pull out. While the Philippines followed, China did not, staying on the shoal until they took effective control and drove away Filipino fishermen.

This prompted Aquino and his administration to file the petition against China in the PCA in January 2013.

In November 2012, at the 9th Asian-Europe Meeting in Vientiane, Laos, Aquino raised the issue of peace and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and highlighted its importance in global trade. He said the South China Sea was a “priority issue not only for the Philippines and the region, but also for the wider international community.”

Later that month, he disputed the statement of the then Asean chair, Cambodia, that the regional bloc had agreed not to “internationalize” the dispute with China.

A statement released by the Philippine government at that time in explaining Aquino’s dissent said that “while the Philippines was for Asean unity, it has the inherent right to defend its national interest when deemed necessary.”

On Wednesday, Aquino said that in pursuing the petition, his administration included all branches of government.

He said consultations were done with the Senate represented by then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and later by Sen. Franklin Drilon, as well as the House of Representatives led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

“Former Presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Estrada were unequivocal in their support. We also invited the judiciary, which at that time, due to prudence on handling cases related to the matter, had to decline,” Aquino said.

GRATITUDE

He expressed his gratitude “to all our countrymen and partners who have worked hard to defend our shared cause.”

Specifically, he mentioned former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, former Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr., former Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, former Solicitors General Francis Jardeleza and Florin Hilbay, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa, Sandiganbayan Justice Sarah Fernandez, former Undersecretary Emmanuel Bautista and Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra, former Assistant Secretary Henry Bensurto Jr. and former Undersecretary Abigail Valte.

“We also thank the lawyers and experts who assisted our team, as led by Paul Reichler of the Washington-based law firm Foley Hoag,” Aquino said.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Biazon wants recognition for Aquino, PH team after win vs China By: Nikko Dizon
@nikkodizonINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer 07:11 PM July 14th, 2016


INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/ JOAN BONDOC

MANILA, Philippines—Muntinlupa City Representative Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon on Wednesday filed a resolution asking Congress to give recognition to former President Benigno Aquino III and the team of Philippine officials in the arbitration case against China for “successfully defending” the case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) based in The Hague, Netherlands.

“They deserve the highest accolades and gratitude of a thankful nation for the patriotism and nationalism which they displayed as they stood up for the rights and interests of the Filipino people in the defense of the Philippine case,” Biazon said in his two-page resolution.

Biazon said it was the former President who provided the “leadership in pursuing and defending Philippine interests in the West Philippine Sea in a peaceful manner and in accordance with international laws and principles.”

The Philippine officials from the various government agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Justice Department and the Office of the Solicitor General should be recognized for their “dedication, expertise, and professionalism… that led to the efficient and effective handling” of the case that led to the favorable ruling of the PCA, Biazon said.

Biazon described the tribunal’s ruling as a “victory for the Philippines and a triumph for the rule of law.”

The ruling “is timely and will hopefully stabilize the situation in the West Philippine Sea and the entire Asian Region which has been precarious due to (the) unlawful activities of China,” Biazon said.
RAM


MANILA BULLETIN

U.S. launches quiet diplomacy to ease South China Sea tensions by Reuters July 14, 2016 (updated)


In this Oct. 27, 2015, file photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat circles a Filipino fishing boat near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. China has intensified the drumbeat of its opposition to a milestone ruling expected Tuesday July 12, 2016, by an international tribunal that could threaten its expansive claims in the South China Sea. (Renato Etac via AP, File FILE – In this Oct. 27, 2015, file photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat circles a Filipino fishing boat near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. China has intensified the drumbeat of its opposition to a milestone ruling expected Tuesday July 12, 2016, by an international tribunal that could threaten its expansive claims in the South China Sea. (Renato Etac via AP, File By Lesley Wroughton and John Walcott

WASHINGTON – The United States is using quiet diplomacy to persuade the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and other Asian nations not to move aggressively to capitalize on an international court ruling that denied China’s claims to the South China Sea, several U.S. administration officials said on Wednesday.

“What we want is to quiet things down so these issues can be addressed rationally instead of emotionally,” said one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private diplomatic messages.

Some were sent through U.S. embassies abroad and foreign missions in Washington, while others were conveyed directly to top officials by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials, the sources said.

“This is a blanket call for quiet, not some attempt to rally the region against China, which would play into a false narrative that the U.S. is leading a coalition to contain China,” the official added.

The effort to calm the waters following the court ruling in The Hague on Tuesday suffered a setback when Taiwan dispatched a warship to the area, with President Tsai Ing-wen telling sailors that their mission was to defend Taiwan’s maritime territory.

READ MORE...

The court ruled that while China has no historic rights to the area within its self-declared nine-dash line, Taiwan has no right to Itu Aba, also called Taiping, the largest island in the Spratlys. Taipei administers Itu Aba but the tribunal called it a “rock”, according to the legal definition.

The U.S. officials said they hoped the U.S. diplomatic initiative would be more successful in Indonesia, which wants to send hundreds of fishermen to the Natuna Islands to assert its sovereignty over nearby areas of the South China Sea to which China says it also has claims, and in the Philippines, whose fishermen have been harassed by Chinese coast guard and naval vessels.

‘UNKNOWN QUANTITY’

One official said new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte remains “somewhat of an unknown quantity” who has been alternately bellicose and accommodating toward China.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that ahead of the ruling he had spoken to Carter, who he said told him China had assured the United States it would exercise restraint, and that the U.S. government made the same assurance.

Carter had sought and been given the same assurance from the Philippines, Lorenzana added.

China, for its part, repeated pleas for talks between Beijing and Manila, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi saying the it is time to get things back on the “right track” after the “farce” of the case.

On Thursday, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party said China had shown it can fix territorial issues via talks, pointing to agreement reached with Vietnam over their maritime boundary in the Gulf of Tonkin and ongoing talks with South Korea.

“China is a faithful defender of the principle that countries large and small are equal and has consistently upheld using consultations to resolve border issues on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect,” the People’s Daily said in a commentary.

Meanwhile, two Chinese civilian aircraft landed on Wednesday at two new airports on reefs controlled by China in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, a move the State Department said would increase tensions rather than lower them.

“We don’t have a dog in this fight other than our belief … in freedom of navigation,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a briefing on Wednesday. “What we want to see in this very tense part of Asia, of the Pacific, rather, is a de-escalation of tensions and we want to see all claimants take a moment to look at how we can find a peaceful way forward.”

CONTINGENCY PLAN

However, if that effort fails, and competition escalates into confrontation, U.S. air and naval forces are prepared to uphold freedom of maritime and air navigation in the disputed area, a defense official said on Wednesday.

Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said confrontation is less likely if the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries work with the United States rather than on their own.

“I don’t think China wants a confrontation with the United States,” he told reporters. “They don’t mind a confrontation with a Vietnamese fishing boat, but they don’t want a confrontation with the United States.”

The court ruling is expected to dominate a meeting at the end of July in Laos of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang, will attend the ministerial.

Sino-American relations suffered two fresh blows on Wednesday as a congressional committee found China’s government likely hacked computers at the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the United States challenged China’s export duties on nine metals and minerals that are important to the aerospace, auto, electronics and chemical industries.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

China vows ‘decisive response’ to sea provocations July 14, 2016 10:22 pm

BEIJING: China warned on Thursday of a “decisive response” to provocations in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), as it faced mounting pressure to accept an international tribunal’s ruling against its claims to most of the strategically vital waters.

The Philippines, which launched the legal challenge, called for China to respect the decision and defied Chinese objections by saying it would raise the issue at a summit of Asian and European leaders in Mongolia starting on Friday.

China, which had already vowed to ignore Tuesday’s verdict by the UN-backed tribunal in The Hague, responded with another firm warning that it was in no mood to back down.

“If anyone wants to take any provocative action against China’s security interests based on the award, China will make a decisive response,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

China claims nearly all of the sea — which is of immense military importance and through which about $5 trillion worth of shipping trade passes annuall — even waters approaching the coasts of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations.

It justifies its claims by saying it was the first to have discovered, named and exploited the sea, and outlines its territory using a vague map made up of nine dashes that emerged in the 1940s.

‘Unlawful’ China

The tribunal, however, sided with the Philippines in ruling that China’s claimed historic rights to resources within the nine-dash map had no legal basis.

It also declared that China had acted unlawfully by violating the Philippines’ sovereign rights within its exclusive economic zone — waters extending 200 nautical miles from the Philippine coast.

China had done so by interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration within the exclusive zone, as well as by building artificial islands there.

It had in recent years undertaken giant land reclamation works in the Spratlys archipelago, one of the biggest island groups in the sea that partly falls within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

The United States and Australia were among Philippine allies this week to quickly call on China to respect the ruling, pointing out it was legally binding.

The Philippines had initially refrained from asking China to abide by the verdict — in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to achieve a “soft landing” with Beijing on the issue.

Duterte, who took office on June 30, has said he wants better relations with China and to attract Chinese investment for major infrastructure projects.

Unlike Aquino, he has expressed intent to talk directly with China over the issue.

Beijing also wants to negotiate but at the same time insists it will never concede on sovereignty.
Tougher stance

But the Philippines hardened its stance on Thursday with a statement detailing Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay’s priorities when he attends a two-day Asia-Europe summit, known as Asem, in Mongolia along with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

“Secretary Yasay will discuss within the context of Asem’s agenda the Philippines’ peaceful and rules-based approach on the South China Sea and the need for parties to respect the recent decision,” the Foreign Affairs department said in a statement.

Even just raising the issue at the summit would anger China, which has long bridled at Philippine efforts to have the dispute discussed at multilateral events.

Chinese assistant foreign minister Kong Xuanyou insisted on Monday that the Asem meeting was “not an appropriate venue” to discuss the South China Sea.

But Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said also on Thursday as he left for Mongolia that he wanted the sea row to be discussed at the summit.

Vietnam, another claimant in the South China Sea, added to the pressure on Beijing.

“Vietnam asks China to immediately end moves that violate Vietnam’s sovereignty,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh told reporters in Hanoi.

The Chinese government and state media have this week unleashed a tirade of vitriol against the tribunal, and vowed never to give up claims to the sea.

“Do not turn the South China Sea into a cradle of war,” vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday in a warning to rivals.

He said China may introduce an air defense zone over the sea, which would give its military authority over foreign aircraft, depending on the “threat” level.
AFP

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

EU joins call for peaceful end to West Philippine Sea dispute July 17, 2016 Share3 Tweet1 Share0 Email0 Share27 By PNA, JJ Landingin, and Jonas Reyes

The European Union (EU) is urging countries with claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) to resolve their differences through “peaceful means and in accordance with international laws.”

In a press statement, the EU said that as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), it acknowledges the decision of the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration last Tuesday that the Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea and that China’s “nine-dash line” principle has no historical basis.

EU COMMITTED TO LEGAL ORDER

The EU said it was “committed to maintaining a legal order of the seas and oceans based upon the principles of international law, UNCLOS, and to the peaceful settlement of disputes.”

China has refused to recognize the tribunal’s ruling, and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, said China’s “territorial sovereignty and marine rights” in the seas would not be affected by the ruling while Chinese state media reacted angrily to the verdict.

The EU said that while it “does not take a position on sovereignty aspects relating to claims,” it “expresses the need for the parties to the dispute to resolve it through peaceful means, to clarify their claims and pursue them in respect and in accordance with international law, including the work in the framework of UNCLOS.”

It said it recalls that the dispute settlement mechanisms as provided under UNCLOS “contribute to the maintenance and furthering of the international order based upon the Rule of Law and are essential to settle disputes.”

The EU also underlines the fundamental importance of upholding the freedoms, rights and duties established in UNCLOS, particularly the freedoms of navigation and overflight.

As such, it supports the “swift conclusion of talks aiming at an effective Code of Conduct between ASEAN and China implementing the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.”

In recalling its statement of March 11, the EU said it calls upon the parties concerned “to address remaining and further related issues through negotiations and other peaceful means and refrain from activities likely to raise tensions.”

US REITERATES SUPPORT FOR TRIBUNAL’S RULING

United States (US) Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg has reiterated the US’ support for the tribunal’s decision, and called for restraint from all parties concerned.

Goldberg also said there were three principles that guide “US interest in the South China Sea Issue.”

“The first is the support that we gave to the Philippines,” he said. “They’re right to bring the issue to the international tribunal on the law of the sea, and we urge of course, even before the decision, that all the parties, all the claimants, all countries, observe the decision as binding. As we do the same after the decision has been rendered.”

The second, Goldberg said, is the US supports “the right of freedom the navigation on the sea and on the air. We’ve been doing that for many, many decades. We still do it and will continue to do it. Freedom of navigation support is a very important principle.”

The third “is that we have a very important ally, treaty ally in the Philippines. And so we also are supporting the Philippines in its efforts to bring about a legal, peaceful and diplomatic solution to the issues in the South China Sea.”

Goldberg urged all countries involved in the issue “to exercise restraint, avoid confrontations of any kind so we can allow diplomacy to take place so we can allow the legal decision that was rendered to also take root.”

FISHERMEN HOPE FOR END TO HARASSMENT

Buoyed by the decision of the arbitral tribunal, fisherfolk in Subic, Zambales, hope to return to the Scarborough Shoal without being harassed by Chinese maritime forces.

Fishing boat operator Arnel Tolero said he is looking forward to fishing again in the disputed shoal without having to worry about being rammed or hosed down by Chinese Coast Guard vessels.

Tolero said the area is not just teeming with marine wildlife, but has been the fishermen’s refuge during typhoons. “The area has protected fishermen who venture out into the Bajo. Its pan shape deflects strong winds and waves from typhoons,” he said.

Zambales 2nd District Congresswoman Cheryl Deloso hails the decision of the tribunal as “an affirmation of the Philippines’ exclusive sovereign rights over our EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone).”

“Although the Zambalenos know that there is still a long way to go in this fight, our fisherfolk are hopeful that they may be able to freely exercise their economic rights and freely fish in Scarborough Shoal,” Deloso said.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Duterte asks Ramos to start bilateral talks with China over sea row Published July 14, 2016 8:35pm



President Rodrigo Duterte has asked former President Fidel Ramos to go to China to initiate bilateral talks with the country's leaders, GMA News Ian Cruz has reported.

Duterte also raised the economic implications of the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration's recent ruling favoring the Philippines' exclusive economic zone over China's historic claims in the South China Sea.

"War is not an option. So what’s the other side? Peaceful talks. I cannot give you the wherewithal now. I want to consult many people including President Ramos," Duterte said during a testimonial dinner in his honor at the Club Filipino.

"I would like to respectfully ask him to go to China and start the talks," he added.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier in the day told reporters that Duterte wanted to pursue bilateral talks with China.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on Tuesday ruled to favor the Philippines in most of the 15 points it raised against China's claims in the South China Sea.

Duterte met the Cabinet in Malacañang shortly after the tribunal released its ruling via email.

Economic implications

The Chief Executive expressed concern overthe ruling's implications particularly on the country's economy.

READ MORE...

He said China might restrict the flow of trade and commerce in the disputed areas.

"Alam nyo 'pag nagsara yan lahat tataas because even the insurance of cargoes and boats and ships there tataas. It will create another problem for our economy," Duterte said.

Western powers

Duterte indicated that the Philippines in trying to resolve the issue, should also consider the interests of its allies particularly the US.

The US had been conducting patrols in the disputed areas to press for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

"We do not also want to offend the United States. Why? Because we have identified ourselves allied with the Western powers," Duterte said.

"So there’s an interest which we should not forget. Our interest and the interest of our allies," the President said.

‘Consider my age’

Ramos, who has maintained good relations with Chinese leaders over the years even after his term ended in 1998, appeared non-commital.

"This is not to ahow disrespect to the President of the Philippines but you have to consider my increasing age," said the 88-year-old former Chief Executive.

Ramos said he had "bigger commitments in terms of peace in the world and sustainable development." —NB, GMA News

VIDEO: WAR IS NOT AN OPTION - DUTERTE

 
https://youtu.be/vFVIcWw5I10?list=PLz3YOVDOo1Utj2MfaVr36wOtVO_FP4a5t

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte’s plan to hold bilateral talks with China 'most practical way out' - UP prof By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated July 14, 2016 - 9:55pm 13 43 googleplus0 0


UP Professor Temario Rivera said bilateral talks with China is the most practical solution. Philstar.com/Rosette Adel

MANILA, Philippines — A University of the Philippines professor said President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to hold bilateral talks with China is the most practical solution following the Permanent Court of Arbitration's (PCA) ruling in favor of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea row.

“Bilateral talks is the most practical way out,” UP Professor Temario Rivera of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) said at a Pandesal Forum on Wednesday.

"All other avenues which have been used so far by the Philippines have unfortunately been unproductive,” Rivera added.

He said the two concrete bases for immediate talks are the status of Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal) and the possibility of pursuing joint exploration and exploitation of resources not included in the PCA ruling.

Although the Scarborough Shoal was part of the Philippines’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the PCA ruled that Manila, Beijing and other countries had traditional fishing rights in the area.

RELATED: How the Hague court ruled on the Philippines’s 15 arguments

Rivera said he also supports the possibility of pursuing joint exploration and exploitation of resources in the South China Sea not clearly covered within the EEZ of any claimant state.

“China was not really claiming historic title over the waters of the SCS but simply historic rights to use the resources [which] opens angle for negotiation in the bilateral talks,” Rivera said.

Watch why else Rivera is supporting bilateral talks with China.

 
UP Professor supports bilateral talks with China
by philstarnews

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

FVR seeks mission parameters as special envoy By Marichu Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 16, 2016 - 1:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


President Duterte chats with former president Fidel Ramos during a testimonial dinner in Duterte’s honor organized by the San Beda Law Alumni Association at Club Filipino in San Juan the other night.

MANILA, Philippines - If ever he agrees to start bilateral talks with China after an international tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines on overlapping claims in the South China Sea, former president Fidel Ramos must be armed with “clear parameters” of his authority to speak for President Duterte.

A ranking Palace official underscored the need to set such parameters for Ramos before the former president embarks on the mission to Beijing as special presidential envoy.

As this developed, the Palace is preparing the next set of moves to ensure greater consultation on the maritime issue through the National Security Council (NSC).

But the NSC meeting may be convened only after Duterte delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, the joint opening of the 17th Congress.

The NSC is chaired by the President, with members that include the Senate president, the House Speaker and other key leaders of Congress and the Cabinet, along with former presidents of the country and selected private sector representatives.

Requesting anonymity since it involves sensitive policy matters, the Palace official told The STAR that Duterte made a “master stroke” in diplomacy by tapping the services of Ramos.

“I would like to respectfully ask (Ramos) to go to China and start the talks,” Duterte said.

However, the President informally announced his request to Ramos in his extemporaneous remarks at a testimonial dinner in his honor by former classmates and schoolmates at the San Beda College of Law.

Naturally, the Palace official explained, Duterte must issue and sign the official designation of Ramos as “special envoy” to Beijing.

Before further steps are taken, the same Palace official said Duterte would have a full-blown meeting with Ramos to discuss the specifics of the mission.

Aside from being a former president, Ramos comes from a family of diplomats. His late father was ambassador Narciso Ramos while elder sister Letty Ramos-Shahani was also a former ambassador before she served as undersecretary of foreign affairs and later senator.

The President’s public request to Ramos came two days after the ruling handed down by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that found no legal basis for the nine-dash line claim of Beijing in the South China Sea.

“War? It is not an option. So what is the other side? Peaceful talks. I cannot give you the wherewithals now, I have to consult many people, including (former) president Ramos,” Duterte pointed out.

Ramos, who attended the testimonial dinner, said he was “out of range” of hearing when Duterte made the request. “I think he just made that in jest because I’m busy writing my legacy for you young people and China is only one of my areas of interest,” Ramos told reporters in an ambush interview after the dinner.

Levity aside, Ramos admitted he was not aware of the President’s plans for him: “I have not seen the offer.”

Moreover, the 88-year-old Ramos cited his state of health, especially now that he has a pacemaker. He told The STAR he underwent surgery for this last October.

“This is not to show disrespect to the President but you have to consider my increasing age. But I can do the job. However, I have bigger commitments in terms of peace in the world and sustainable development,” Ramos said.

After his presidency, Ramos was kept busy writing and publishing books of his speeches (which he playfully calls “sermons”) and columns published in The Manila Bulletin, and traveling abroad to deliver lectures and speeches.

Every year, Ramos attends the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) held annually in Boao, Hainan province in China.

The Ramos Peace and Development Foundation Inc. is a founding member of the BFA. The BFA is an Asian forum initiated by Ramos, former Speaker Jose de Venecia, and other leaders to discuss regional issues and global concerns.

A West Point graduate, Ramos was once seen as an “Am-boy” when he ran for and won the presidency in 1992. During his term, Ramos hosted former Chinese premier Jiang Zemin in a tour of Manila Bay on board the presidential yacht, with the two leaders singing karaoke.

According to Duterte, it is important to be “careful” in dealing with China so as not to create bigger problems, not only for the country, but for allies of the Philippines as well, like the US.

“We gain nothing, but we also do not want to offend the United States. Why? Because we have identified ourselves with the Western powers. So there’s an interest that we also should not forget, our interests and the interests of our allies,” Duterte said.

The Palace official meanwhile disclosed the forthcoming trip of Ramos to Beijing would likely take place after the President convenes the NSC meeting at the Palace.

Aside from Ramos, also to be invited to this NSC meeting are former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, ex-president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and ex-president Benigno Aquino lll.

However, it is not clear if Arroyo could be given court furlough from her hospital detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City while undergoing plunder trial at the Sandiganbayan.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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