Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin said the Aquino administration did right in filing an arbitration case with the United Nations-backed court on the West Philippine Sea issue in 2012.
Locsin said the arbitral ruling, which voided China’s nine-dash line basis for claiming ownership of most of the South China Sea, has tied the hands of any president from giving away the country’s territory.
“I don’t agree (that we should have never filed it), because now those claims cannot be comprosied because they are in an arbitral reward,” said Locsin in an interview with ANC’s Karen Davila.
“Although we cannot enforce it, although at the moment as President Duterte rightly points out, China is in actual possession of certain features, still, I think, that prevents any government, democratically-elected government, from giving them up,” said Locsin.
Locsin was referring to China’s occupation of some portion of the Spratlys Islands that fall within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone as upheld by the arbitral body.
Locsin said the filing of the arbitral case in 2012, and won in 2016, was also noteworthy for its inclusion of Sabah, a part of which is being claimed by Malaysia, as part of the Philippine territory.