A resolution urging the Senate to “condemn in the strongest possible terms” the illegal activities of the Chinese government in the West Philippine Sea was filed by eleven senators on Monday.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, along with Senators Ralph Recto, Nancy Binay, Leila De Lima, Richard Gordon, Risa Hontiveros, Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Grace Poe, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., and Joel Villanueva, filed Senate Resolution no. 708 on April 26.
According to the lawmakers, the continued presence of Chinese ships in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and other parts of the West Philippine Sea violates the United Nations Convention on the Law of The Sea and the 2016 Award by the Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration in favor of the Philippines.
“China should not be allowed to rewrite or nullify the UNCLOS, which was painstakingly negotiated and ratified by various States, as such blatant disregard of established international law not only has serious ramifications on a rules-based international order but likewise deprives Filipino fishermen of livelihood,” said the senators, adding that their presence in Philippine waters causes irreparable damage to the marine environment due to pollution and destruction of coral reefs.
The senators further explained that China’s actions clearly violate Article 60 of the UNCLOS that provides, “in the exclusive economic zone, the coastal State shall have the exclusive right to construct and to authorize and regulate the construction, operation, and use of artificial islands, installations and structures.”
Further, close political and diplomatic ties, as well as promise of donations or loans, should not be taken as the Philippines accepting such actions from China, they said.