Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, retired Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales are urging the Duterte administration to bring the 2013 West Philippine Sea arbitral ruling to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
UNGA will be holding its 75th regular session on September 15 at UN Headquarters in New York. “This is when the leaders of 193 countries troop to the UN to promote their respective positions before the global community of nations. This is when States, big and small, will have a full window to be heard,” the three said in a joint statement dated August 28.
“We, Filipinos, must not waste this chance to be heard,” they said adding that the Philippines has lost “so many opportunities by the shelving of the Arbitral Ruling since 2016.”
They added that they do not agree with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. when he said “we won it already. Why would you want to re-litigate something that you won?”
“Bringing the arbitral ruling to the UNGA is not re-litigating the case. It is enforcing what we already won. As international law does not have a world policeman, it is up to us to enforce the Arbitral Ruling by rallying other countries to our lawful position. If we do not help ourselves, how can we expect other countries to help us?” del Rosario, Carpio, and Morales said.
“When President Duterte decided to shelve the arbitral ruling, he also promised the Filipino people to raise the ruling at a ‘proper time.’ This coming September is his penultimate chance to fulfill his promise to the Filipino people,” they added.
They noted that President Duterte must raise the Arbitral Award this September “as he will have just one more opportunity to gain the support of more countries next year in the same forum. If the Arbitral Ruling is raised this year, we are enabled to work multilaterally and bilaterally in preparation for UNGA 2021 when our chances will have significantly been improved.”
They also said that “our Arbitral Ruling was made under the auspices of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). In the long run, how can 145 littoral states of 193 UN member nations vote against their national interest by going against UNCLOS which grants them considerable maritime areas and resources they previously did not enjoy?” the three explained.