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Aquino started trouble in West Philippine Sea – Arroyo

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The camp of former president and current Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo underscored Thursday (April 20) that it was during the time of Benigno Aquino III that China began its island-building activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“The principal achievement of the GMA administration on the law of the sea is the enactment of RA 9522 which defines the baselines of the Philippine archipelago,” Arroyo’s lawyer Estelito Mendoza said in a press conference at the House of Representatives (HOR).

Mendoza claimed that even with the enactment of RA 9522, there was “relative peace and quiet” in the region.

“China did not file a protest. China did not contest our baselines implicitly. China implicitly recognized our 200-nautical economic zone,” the veteran litigator said.

Mendoza said that it was only after the Aquino administration’s Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) case against China’s nine-dash line claim in 2013 that the regional power began to get aggressive in the WPS.

Arroyo, who sat beside Mendoza during the press conference, chimed in several times that the existing Chinese structures on contested islands “were built during the previous administration,” and not hers.

President Aquino took over Malacañang from Arroyo in 2010.

“China outflanked us. While we were winning in The Hague, China was winning in the waters. That’s the biggest problem of Duterte administration,” Mendoza said.