Marcos reminds parties of moral duty to resolve SCS disputes

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MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. reminded Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) contracting parties on Sunday to do their part in finding peaceful solutions to the South China Sea (SCS) dispute.

Marcos renewed his pitch during his intervention at the 17th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to maintain peace and stability in the highly-contested sea.

“We must ensure that the South China Sea remains a sea of peace, a sea of security and stability, and of prosperity. With the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea) and international law as our basis, the South China Sea will be a nexus of vibrant economic engagements and interactions, not an epicenter of armed conflict or geopolitical maneuverings,” Marcos said.

TAC contracting parties, he said, should be guided by the universal principles of “peaceful coexistence” and “friendly cooperation.”

“As high contracting parties to the Treaty, we have a moral and legal obligation to work towards finding resolutions and not resort to inciting conflicts,” he added.

In 1976, the TAC, a legally-binding code for inter-state relations in the region and beyond, was established and embodies universal principles of peaceful coexistence and friendly cooperation among states in Southeast Asia.

The Treaty has been amended three times, in 1987, 1998, and 2010, to allow for accession by states outside Southeast Asia as well as for regional organizations whose members are sovereign states, among others.

According to Marcos, the Philippines considers maritime cooperation as a “key priority” in bilateral and multilateral cooperation and engagements, particularly in the SCS.

‘Partnerships make us strong’

Marcos urged fellow heads of states to prioritize cooperation on various areas in order to address mutual issues and concerns.

“…Our people look to their leaders, to us, to correctly navigate the uncertain waters of this new world. Our partnerships will make us strong. Our partnerships will give us wisdom,” he said.

He implored them to continue engaging all stakeholders in addressing Myanmar’s challenges, as well as facilitating dialogue and engagements between all concerned parties toward long-term peace and stability in a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

Marcos stated that “all possible efforts” should be exerted to bring peace between Russia and Ukraine and move the confrontation there into a diplomatic feat.

He likewise emphasized the significance of improving existing strategies towards holistic, green, and sustainable development to ensure environmentally-sound economic progress.

“It has become glaringly clear that there is a dire need to strengthen food security towards self-sufficiency in our region to increase adaptability and resilience in the face of threats to the global supply chain,” he said.

For the sake of present and future generations, Marcos urged them to “act decisively” and “immediately” regarding climate change.

“We, therefore, call on our Partners in EAS to continue supporting the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity in its work and efforts towards biodiversity management directed towards climate action,” he added.

Marcos promised continued support for EAS initiatives, particularly those aimed at empowering women economically, bolstering energy security, and encouraging volunteerism for sustainable development.

He also expressed gratitude to the Cambodian government and its Prime Minister Hun Sen for their successful chairmanship of ASEAN and looked forward to the turn of Indonesia as incoming ASEAN chair. 

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.