DAGUPAN CITY — Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza spelled out the country’s initiative to let the “rule of law” prevail in the West Philippine Sea in his speech during the 116th celebration of the Philippine Independence Day in Dagupan.
In a speech read for him by Assistant Solicitor General Karl Miranda at the CSI Stadia where the celebration was transferred in view of the rains spawned by typhoon “Ester”, Jardeleza said that for a period of 17 years, there were many exchanges of opinion between China and the Philippines on the issue of the West Philippine Sea.
But despite these exchanges, no decision was ever reached or agreement signed by both parties to settle the issue once and for all, he said.
Because of this and China’s continuous aggressive action in that area, the Philippines decided to bring the dispute to the United Nations, under the ambit of the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The UNCLOS, he said, is the law that governs all the seas all over the world. The UNCLOS spells out regulations that nations must follow on issues pertaining to boundaries, claims and exploitation of resources and in mediating disputes of countries with conflicting interest in an area.
Jardeleza said that in this issue of the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines insists that under UNCLOS, China has no right to all what it is claiming in the West Philippine Sea that, he said, includes the Scarborough Shoal, Mabini Reef and Ayungin Shoal.
He said it was on March 30, 2014 that the Philippines through the Office of the Solicitor General submitted its “memorial” to the arbitral tribunal of the U.N.
“This tribunal will hear our case and will issue the decision to both parties, China and the Philippines. Our memorial contains all our arguments and evidence,” Jardeleza said.
The Philippines noted, however, China’s continuing hard stance and non-interest on the issue, he said.
But Jardeleza said this hard stance by China is only temporary and will not last long — and the Philippines can wait — when China will eventually follow its obligation under the international law as member of the international community.
“China needs to fulfill its obligation in order to maintain its reputation and good standing,” Jardeleza said, adding that in this case, the Philippines is prepared to wait.
He likened the initiatives being taken by the Philippines on the issue of the West Philippine Sea to the sacrifices made by the Filipino heroes in 1898 so that freedom can be won.
In his speech read by Miranda, Jardeleza said the celebration of Philippine Independence is a time to strengthen and advance the vision of freedom which was won through the blood, sweat and tears and the sacrifice of human lives by our ancestors.
Speaking in Filipino, he urged his audience to join him in paying homage to the bravery of the early Filipinos who did not entertain any fear whatsoever so that freedom can be won.
Although up against a superior force, our ancestors accepted the challenge of the times, said Jardeleza.
Heavy rains spawned by Typhoon “Ester”, compelled city officials to transfer the venue of the celebration from the city plaza to CSI Stadia.
This was right after officials — under the cover of umbrellas — laid wreaths at the foot of the monuments here of Dr. Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio and co-founders of the Katipunan.