Press Release
July 4, 2019

Statement of Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on President Duterte's verbal agreement with China regarding the PH EEZ

President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping may have had a spit-in-the-hand verbal agreement over our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), but it is non-binding.

Hindi maaaring pangibabawan ng laway at salita lamang ang ating Konstitusyon.

President Rodrigo Duterte cannot spit on our Constitution. He cannot surrender our sovereign rights and territorial integrity just to continue his one-sided love affair with China.

Maliwanag ang sinasaad ng ating Konstitusyon. Ang atin ay atin. Ang ating EEZ ay para lamang sa mga Pilipino. Kaya kung anuman ang berbal na kasunduan ni Pangulong Duterte sa bansang Tsina, ito ay walang bisa at hindi maaaring pairalin.

Even Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin rejected the so-called verbal agreement, saying that it is unenforceable and that the President may have been led to believe by his legal advisers that our country can allow other countries to fish in our EEZ.

I therefore call on Malacañang to fully explain the details of this so-called verbal agreement and if this is part and parcel of the government's official foreign policy in dealing with China and in handling the issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea. Such an agreement would be grossly unconstitutional and a betrayal of our historic victory at The Hague.

I will also gather the support of my colleagues in the Senate so that a parliamentary oversight of the Executive's foreign policy and the agreements it enters into with other sovereign powers (verbal or otherwise) can be conducted the soonest. The Senate has been granted by the Constitution the power to ratify treaties and in line with its check and balance powers, it has material interest in ensuring that the foreign policy adopted by the President and the agreements he enters into with other nations are in the best interest of Filipino citizens.

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