Press Release
July 12, 2023

Hontiveros: Declare July 12 as National West Philippine Sea Victory Day

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday said that July 12 of every year should be declared as National West Philippine Sea Victory Day to commemorate the 2016 triumph of the Philippines before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague, Netherlands.

"Commemorating our 2016 victory every year can help weaken China's spurious claims over our own territories. Paulit-ulit ang kasinungalingan at propaganda ng Tsina, kaya't tayo sa Pilipinas, dapat hindi rin humihinto sa pagsiwalat ng katotohanan. Umpisahan na natin sa pagpapapatibay ng kaalaman ng ating mga mamamayan tungkol sa ating karapatan sa West Philippine Sea," Hontiveros said.

Proposed Senate Resolution # 674, refiled from 2021, highlights that the landmark case ruled against the Chinese government's claims to historic and sovereign rights vis-a-vis maritime areas in the West Philippine Sea.

The ruling declared that China's claims were contrary to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and that China had breached her obligations with respect to the Philippines' sovereign rights over our continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

"Sa kabila ng makasaysayang tagumpay ng Pilipinas noong 2016, patuloy parin ang panghihimasok ng Tsina sa ating EEZ. Patuloy parin ang pagtaboy niya sa ating mga mangingisdang ngayo'y nawawalan na ng kabuhayan dahil sa presensiya ng Tsina sa ating karagatan. Patuloy ang pangha-harass at pambubully sa ating coast guard. Patuloy ang hindi pagrespeto sa ating pambansang dignidad," Hontiveros said.

The arbitration case was initiated by the Philippine government, led by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, after Chinese vessels began denying Filipino fisherfolk access to their traditional fishing grounds in Panatag Shoal and other parts of the WPS. Because of China's continued aggression in Philippine territory, Hontiveros said that the Marcos administration should likewise conceive of ways to further strengthen our claim over the WPS.

Last month, the senator also filed PSR 659, calling on the Philippine government, through the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, to raise the WPS issue to the UN General Assembly, noting that a UNGA win could carry significant political weight in favor of the Philippines.

"Government must take every possible action in the name of our national sovereignty. Huwag nating hayaang balewalain lang ng Tsina ang kalayaan at soberanyang ipinamana sa atin ng ating mga ninuno. Kaya, kahit man lang isang beses sa bawat taon, ipagbunyi natin ang West Philippine Sea. Ipagmalaki natin ang tapang at puso ng bawat Pilipinong tumitindig sa Tsina. Ipaglaban natin ang Pilipinas," Hontiveros concluded. ###

Please see attached PSR No. 674

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