Statement on the Recent Incident at the West Philippine SeaNovember 11, 2023
SENATE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE LOREN LEGARDA’S STATEMENT ON THE RECENT INCIDENT AT THE WEST PH SEA
November 11, 2023
We condemn the latest act of intimidation by the Chinese Coast Guard against a Philippine boat on a resupply mission to our troops stationed at the grounded BRP Sierra Madre.
Contrary to the claim of the Chinese, the Philippine vessels and troops are not “trespassing” the area, since the Chinese are leaning towards a flawed “nine-dash line” doctrine that has long been deemed false by the July 2016 arbitral ruling.
The Philippines takes every opportunity to assert the significance and importance of the 2016 Arbitral Award in bilateral and multilateral fora. Our country is consistent that the UNCLOS and Award are twin anchors of its actions and its policy in the West Philippine Sea.
Because of the Philippines’ consistent diplomatic efforts to promote respect for the rule of law, UNCLOS, and recognition of the 2016 Arbitration Award, a number of key countries have begun refining their positions in the South China Sea to adhere to or reflect the Award. At least twenty-five (25) states have openly stated and reaffirmed their support for the Award through various platforms over the past seven years. Several others, such as Viet Nam and Malaysia, while not directly supporting the Philippines’ position, have cited some of the Award’s rulings to assert their positions, notably the invalidation of China’s nine-dash line.
We must continue to raise public awareness of the 2016 Arbitral Award, intensify engagements with traditional allies, as well as build relations with non-traditional partners.
Our troops remain steadfast in protecting our territory on the grounded ship at Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, and we thank them for fulfilling their duty to the nation.