Press Release
July 13, 2021

Statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros on Chinese Foreign Ministry's assertion that 2016 Hague victory is "a piece of waste paper"

I unequivocally condemn Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian's statement that described our 2016 Hague victory as "nothing more than a piece of waste paper" and that it is "illegal, null, and void."

On what planet does he think China is? The entire world has accepted and honored this landmark legal decision. The Arbitral Award has made it clear that China's nine-dash-line claim has neither historic nor legal basis as China cannot exceed what nations are entitled to under UNCLOS.

China is a signatory to the UNCLOS, so she has to play by the same rules as everyone else. She stands alone against the global consensus on the issue. China is indeed part of the United Nations, and in fact, she is also a permanent member of the UN's Security Council, so Beijing's leadership better stop contorting international law, which member-nations should abide by, just because it is not in her favor. Beijing should also stop lying through her teeth.

It is unfortunate that five long years since our triumph, China has still not come to her senses. The entire globe is still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and it had been hoped that we would be more reflective about how we live and more especially, how we nations live together. But amid a health and economic crisis, China's behavior vis-a-vis the West Philippine Sea has only been obstructive, devoid of respect for our sovereign country.

Moreover, Malacañang should denounce China's statement. It is long overdue. It is disturbing to read that China's position of relegating our 2016 victory to "waste paper" is similar to how President Duterte described this award. The words that come out of the President's mouth should echo the sentiment of the Filipino public, not of China. I have previously called on the President to retract his previous statement. He cannot abandon his duty to represent and fight for the best interest of the Philippines. He owes every Filipino that.

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