The Philippines is committed to protecting its rightful territories even without the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling which invalidated Chinese claims over the West Philippine Sea, the Department of National Defense (DND) said on Thursday.
“What President (Rodrigo) Duterte said last night regarding the PCA ruling is correct. There is no international law enforcement body that can enforce it. However, even without the PCA ruling, we will continue to defend what is rightfully ours,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.
This came after President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in his public address on Wednesday night, claimed that invoking the 2016 PCA ruling is just a waste of time.
“Iyang papel, sa totoong buhay between nations, iyang papel, wala iyan (The document showing our victory, in real life, that is nothing between nations),” he said.
Duterte also said he attempted to assert the ruling but the country gained nothing from it.
“Tayo nanalo. Ngayon pagdating ko, ang barko nandiyan sa West Philippine Sea, China ship. Tayo wala na. Tapos sabi nila itong papel sa kaso na nanalo tayo, i-pursue mo. Pinursue ko, walang nangyari (We won. Now, China’s ships are still there in the West Philippine Sea when I assumed office. However, we already withdrew ours. And they are convincing me to pursue the ruling. I pursued it but nothing happened),” he added.
On July 12, 2016, the Philippines won its case against China after the PCA ruled that China has “no legal basis” to claim historic rights over almost the strategic waters.
“As I said in my previous statement, the President’s orders have been firm and straightforward: we defend what is rightfully ours without going to war and maintain the peace in the seas,” Lorenzana said.
He added that the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will not stop their patrols on the West Philippine Sea and the Kalayaan Island Group. PNA.GOV.PH