“The Award is final. We firmly reject attempts to undermine it; nay, even erase it from law, history and our collective memories,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said in a statement with regard to the 5th Anniversary of the Issuance of the Award on the South China Sea Arbitration.
“The Award conclusively settled the status of historic rights and maritime entitlements in the South China Sea. It declared as without legal effect claims that exceed geographic and substantive limits of maritime entitlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. So, it did not throw historic claims out the window; it discriminated among them,” Secretary Locsin said.
He added that the Award “dashed among others a nine-dash line; and any expectation that possession is 9/10ths of the law. Because the mere fact of possession produces no legal effect, such as a territorial sea of any extent.”
“Thus, the Arbitral Award became and continues to be a milestone in the corpus of international law. It is available to other countries with the same problematic maritime features as ours. It puts one issue out of the way of conflict; because there is nothing there taken by force that results in any gain in law,” Locsin said.
“The present that we need and the future that we want is a peaceful South China Sea. The Philippines is committed to this for as long as it exists. For as long as nations abide by the rule of law and not of military might, the Award is the North Star that will keep us on course in the present, and that will point us back to the right direction in the future should we, in a moment of weakness or inaction, lose our way,” Locsin added.