Press Release
July 12, 2021

Drilon files reso to commemorate Phl victory at the Hague
A legacy of the late PNoy, the Hague ruling is a reminder of Filipinos' courage, Drilon adds

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon filed a resolution commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Philippine's historic legal victory in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague which ruled in favor of the Philippines days after the term of the late President Simeon Benigno Aquino III ended in 2016.

"The Philippines' victory at the Hague should be a lasting reminder that the Filipino is never cowed or daunted, that false promises of economic largesse and military might will not serve to defeat what is right, and that our claims should be valiantly and relentlessly fought for, to ensure that future generations can benefit from the bounty of what is legally ours," said Drilon in filing Senate Resolution 769.

"The monumental arbitral award, promulgated two weeks after the term of President Aquino, was hailed as a victory not just for the Philippines but also for other coastal states," he added.

Considered as one of the legacies of the Aquino administration, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) rendered a landmark Award on12 July 2016 in favor of the Republic of the Philippines, rejecting the People's Republic of China's expansive claims to historic, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction over the resources and area covered by its Nine Dash Line that encompasses almost the entirety of the South China Sea and encroaches on the maritime entitlements of other coastal states, including the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf (ECS) of the Republic of the Philippines, as being incompatible with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the 19 Sea (UNCLOS).

Five years after the issuance of the historic award, Drilon lamented that the country has failed to assert and fully leverage the same in bilateral or multilateral talks with China.

"Despite the filing of diplomatic protests against China's most recent incursions into Philippine waters, statements have been made downplaying the arbitral award, serving to undermine the international victory which the Philippines has legally and peacefully secured before the PCA," Drilon said.

In filing SR 769 on the ruling's fifth anniversary today, Drilon also urged the Philippine government to rally other nations in calling for compliance with the landmark award.

"The Philippines should continue to call for adherence to international law, rally other coastal states in calling for compliance with the landmark award by the PCA, and maintain a peaceful and diplomatic assertion of the arbitral award, resolute in our conviction that the rule of law should be upheld and never compromised," the resolution states.

The resolution stresses that China expansionist tendencies "have only grown bolder despite the Arbitral Tribunal's clear rejection of its broad claims."

It cited as proof of expansionist tendencies, China's passage of its Coast Guard Law in January 2021 which allows the use of lethal force against anyone found in waters over which it claims jurisdiction, its operation of research stations in the Kagitingan and Zamora Reefs, its ongoing reclamation activities within the Philippine EEZ, and the continued harassment of Filipino fishermen by large Chinese vessels, the recent mooring of two hundred forty (240) People's Liberation Army Navy vessels in the Philippine EEZ.

The resolution warns that the Philippines risks squandering the gains it has secured at the Hague "absent a coherent foreign policy that insists on the adherence to a rules-based international order."

"International law is a mechanism which allows smaller states, despite lack of military prowess, to stand on equal footing with wealthier, more powerful states, which the Philippines has aptly and bravely utilized without having to incite war when it brought China to court in 2013," Drilon emphasized.

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