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Sen. Gatchalian challenges Pres Duterte to further defend West Philippine Sea

“Now is not the time to back down in defending our claims against China and other claimants in the West Philippine Sea dispute.” – Senator Win Gatchalian (Photo by Mark Cayabyab)

Senator Win Gatchalian urges President Rodrigo Duterte to defend the West Philippine Sea from further illegal intrusions by the People’s Republic of China, following the Philippines’ recent decisive victory in its arbitration case against China.

“Finally, the rights of the Filipino people in the West Philippine Sea have been vindicated in international law through the powerful ruling handed down by the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Armed with this decisive ruling, the Duterte administration must uphold and defend our rights in the West Philippine Sea against any further aggression on the part of the People’s Republic of China,” said Gatchalian, a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs during the 16th Congress.

Gatchalian applauded the Aquino administration and its legal team for skillfully arguing and winning the South China Sea Arbitration Case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, saying that the present administration must stay the course in aggressively fighting for the country’s rights in the disputed waters through international legal channels and savvy diplomacy.

“Now is not the time to back down in defending our claims against China and other claimants in the West Philippine Sea dispute. We must stay the course and build on this historic victory by continuing the fight for what is rightfully ours through peaceful and legal means,” said Gatchalian.

 Additionally, Gatchalian called on the leadership of the People’s Republic of China to take steps to comply with the ruling laid down by the arbitration court, including the immediate withdrawal of ships and personnel from Philippine waters and land features.

Gatchalian also asks the United Nations and regional allies to support the Philippines in enforcing its legal rights under the arbitration ruling.

“As members of the community of nations, we must all subject ourselves to the wisdom and authority of international law, no matter how big or small our nations may be,” said Gatchalian.