Golez: The news says: "China wants the Philippines to avoid citing its South China Sea arbitration victory in the final mandatory statement that will be issued by President Rodrigo Duterte as current chairman and host of the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit on Saturday, diplomatic and Philippine government sources told GMA News Online."
This is a Big Power intervention in an ASEAN matter and compliance would make the Philippines appear in the international community as heavily influenced, even controlled by China. It is contrary to the President's announced independent foreign policy that he would like to pursue, especially considering that it refers to the country's hard won and well deserved victory last year, July 12, 2016, in the Hague Arbitral Tribunal (Permanent Court of Arbitration) whose ruling will have a huge impact on our national security and national wealth. We should not forget that China continues to claim almost 90% of the West Philippines Sea and is in fact occupying big parts of WPS through its huge 558-hectare militarized structure in Mischief Reef, and by China's blockading of Ayungin Shoal, Recto Bank and seizure of Scarborough Shoal.
I can understand the President's desire to strengthen our economic and diplomatic engagement with China which redounds to the country's benefits. But this must be weighed against China's illegal and excessive claims on our Exclusive Economic Zone and national wealth. Certainly, there must be a way to nuance our foreign policy to balance our national concerns.
A recent survey shows that 74% of the Filipino people ask that we assert our victory in the arbitral tribunal and the ASEAN is a momentous opportunity for us to do this. It is propitious that the Philippines is hosting the ASEAN meeting within the first year of the historic ruling of the Arbitral Tribunal and it thus a rare opportunity for the Philippines to ask for ASEAN's support which I am sure will be given with likeminded, very influential member countries Vietnam and Indonesia leading the support for sure.
Two countries previously blocked reference to the South China Sea in earlier ASEAN meetings: Cambodia and Laos, both closely identified geopolitically and economically with China. It will be sad if the international community would misinterpret that the Philippines is now a part of the Cambodia-Laos Club should the ruling not be mentioned in the ASEAN Summit today.
The Philippine Constitution states (Article XII, Section 2): "The State shall protect the nations marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens."
- See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/608820/china-wants-phl-to-drop-arbitration-ruling-in-asean-chairman-s-statement/story#sthash.vmlYFbHM.HbSa5Aju.dpuf