DFA spokesperson holds forum, campus tours in Iloilo to promote West Philippine Sea issue

By on August 18, 2015


DFA Spokesperson Charles C. Jose delivers a lecture before students and faculty members of the  Iloilo Science and Technology University  (ISATU) (Contributed photo)
DFA Spokesperson Charles C. Jose delivers a lecture before students and faculty members of the
Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISATU) (Contributed photo)

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Charles C. Jose, in cooperation with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Regional Office in Iloilo headed by Regional Director Atty. Ma. Janet C. Mesa and PIA-Iloilo Manager Jaime Cabag Jr., returned to Iloilo City for a more comprehensive engagement on the West Philippine Sea issue by holding a multi-sectoral forum, campus tours and live media appearances from August 12 to 14.  The DFA and PIA first conducted a forum for the local media in Iloilo in December 2014.

The forums aim to enhance the audience’s understanding of the core issues of the dispute, the principles guiding our country’s official policy, and inform them of the Government efforts to resolve the issue.

(Top left photo) Assistant Secretary Jose holds lecture at the Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISATU).  (Other photos)  Students and faculty members pose questions and share insights during the open forum (Contributed photo)
(Top left photo) Assistant Secretary Jose holds lecture at the Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISATU). (Other photos) Students and faculty members pose questions during the open forum

On August 12, Assistant Secretary Jose held its first campus tour in Iloilo before students and faculty members of the Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISATU).  His lecture elicited plenty of questions and insights from the audience. The second campus tour took place at the St. Paul University on August 13, where the Assistant Secretary delivered a lecture before an audience composed of more than 300 students and faculty members from different colleges and universities in Iloilo.

During the two forums, the audience noted China’s aggressive actions on the West Philippine Sea, particularly the reclamation activities and its damaging effects on the marine environment. Many members of the audience also expressed concern over China’s non-participation in the arbitration case and its apparent disregard of the rule of law. Assistant Secretary Jose informed them that the Philippines has chosen to pursue a peaceful settlement disputes through the legal and diplomatic tracks and emphasized the primacy of the rule of law.  “We cannot have a regional order where might makes right,” he stated.

DFA Spokesperson Charles Jose engages the students from St. Paul University during the open forum (Contributed photo)
DFA Spokesperson Charles Jose engages the students from St. Paul University during the open forum

Assistant Secretary Jose conducted a multi-sectoral forum at the Iloilo Grand Hotel on August 13 before an audience composed of representatives from local government agencies, non-governmental organizations, religious sector, businesses, youth, and members of the media. He expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome he received from Iloilo and thanked his audience and hosts for providing the opportunity for DFA and PIA to deepen its engagement with the locals in one of the most critical international issues of our time. He encouraged the audience to discuss what they’ve learned from the forum with their families and communities.

Assistant Secretary Jose with PIA Regional Director Iloilo Atty. Ma. Janet C. Mesa hold a press conference at the Iloilo Grand Hotel
Assistant Secretary Jose with PIA Regional Director Iloilo Atty. Ma. Janet C. Mesa at the Iloilo Grand Hotel

The DFA Spokesperson also engaged the local media through a press conference on August 12, live interviews with Bombo Radyo on August 13 and Aksyon Radyo on August 14, and a tv guesting with ABS-CBN “Sikat Ka! Iloilo” on August 14. He cited the media’s role as valuable partners and encouraged them to further intensity their coverage of the issue in the future.

DFA Spokesperson Charles Jose explains the West Philippine Sea to viewers of the ABS-CBN TV program “Sikat Ka! Iloilo.” (top photo)  Assistant Secretary Jose as guest in Bombo Radyo (right photo) and on Aksyon Radyo (left photo)
DFA Spokesperson Charles Jose explains the West Philippine Sea to viewers of the ABS-CBN TV program “Sikat Ka! Iloilo.” (top photo) Assistant Secretary Jose as guest in Bombo Radyo (right photo) and on Aksyon Radyo (left photo)

The DFA and PIA are scheduled to conduct more multi-sectoral forums on the West Philippine Sea in other major regions throughout the country within the year.  It has already held similar forums in Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro City, Subic, Olongapo, Laoag City, Vigan City, Puerto Princesa City, Tuguegarao City, and Dumaguete City.