TELL IT TO SUN•STAR! WPSvic­tory day

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORY! -

IT IS lam­en­ta­ble that pro­gres­sive and pow­er­ful coun­tries in the world ad­vo­cat­ing strong sup­port or pro­tec­tion for demo­cratic prin­ci­ples have re­mained silent and non­com­mit­tal to­wards our plight over China’s egre­gious mil­i­tary build-up in the West Philip­pine Sea (WPS).

But what makes it even more ridicu­lous now is a bill filed by Sen. Leila de Lima seek­ing to de­clare July 12 of ev­ery year as the “West Philip­pine Sea Vic­tory Day.”

I mean why call for a yearly moral vic­tory cel­e­bra­tion when China has po­si­tioned it­self in­trin­si­cally at will to con­tinue bul­ly­ing us?

Se­nate Bill 2201 may be right in de­scrib­ing the ar­bi­tral tri­bunal’s de­ci­sion on July 12, 2016 as a land­mark vic­tory for the coun­try when it fa­vored the coun­try’s sov­er­eign rights in the WPS, as stip­u­lated by the United Na­tions Con­ven­tion for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty, which, among other things, de­fines the rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of na­tions in their use of the world’s oceans, es­tab­lish­ing guide­lines for busi­nesses, the en­vi­ron­ment, and the man­age­ment of ma­rine nat­u­ral re­sources.

In ef­fect, the same tri­bunal in­val­i­dated China’s ex­pan­sive claims rul­ing that it had no le­gal ba­sis to claim the area within its nine-dash lines de­mar­ca­tion.

Iron­i­cally the op­po­site has hap­pened be­cause even as the Per­ma­nent Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion (PCA) was re­solv­ing the is­sue of sov­er­eign rights over the dis­puted wa­ters, China was busy de­vel­op­ing the man­made is­lands into mil­i­tary bases with deep wa­ter ports and air­ports, after which all sorts of ar­ma­ments were in­stalled. So while China would con­sider the area within the ninedash line its ter­ri­tory, other coun­tries were as­sured, if not paci­fied, that they would still have free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion.

How could de Lima, there­fore, say it is a vic­tory worth com­mem­o­rat­ing ev­ery July 12th when it is hol­low and in­ef­fec­tual, to say the least? Let us not fool our­selves.

What I am say­ing is that for as long as China stays mil­i­tar­ily and per­ma­nently en­trenched in our ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters and has claimed the rights to ac­tiv­i­ties rang­ing from fish­ing to prospect­ing and min­ing for en­ergy or mineral re­sources, while no­body in the world can ad­mon­ish its hege­monic am­bi­tions in the area, then one can never de­clare him­self vic­to­ri­ous in the true sense of the word.

— Je­sus Siev­ert

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.