MANILA – The Philippines will continue to use a rules-based approach in dealing with the issue on the disputed West Philippine Sea, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Friday.
Coloma made this comment on a news report that China is flexing its muscles and preparing for military conflict in Asia amid Beijing’s reported reclamation efforts in the disputed reefs.
”The position of our government will not be changed on the need to implement a rules-based approach in facing this issue in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea,” Coloma said in a press briefing in Malacanang.
Coloma said the Philippines government has already brought its case before a Netherland-based arbitral tribunal to decide on the issue under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.
”We also push our position in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and other international forum that it should be resolved based on the principle of Code of Conduct declared over 10 years ago,” Coloma said.
Coloma said the ASEAN member countries had already a united stand for the creation of Code of Conduct that will be used as basis in every action of each member.
”That’s why the position of our government will remain firm with regards on how the issue will be resolved in the South China Sea or Philippine Sea,” Coloma said.
Aside from the Philippines, other members of the ASEAN are Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.
The Philippine Sea or South China Sea is being claimed in part or in whole by China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan and the Philippines.