Arbitral award: A milestone in International Law
MANILA - Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. said President Rodrigo Duterte has rightly said before the UN General Assembly that the arbitral ruling is now part of international law “beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandoned so we celebrate the occasion.”
In a video message uploaded on the Department of Foreign Affairs Facebook Page, Secretary Locsin said 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 to be taken by force that results in any gain in law,” Secretary Locsin said.
He Award, he said gave “littoral states guideposts on how much waters their features – be the islands or rocks - can generate, where their fishermen can fish, where they can exercise law enforcement patrols, where they can sent their ships without permission from the nearest state, without creating a cause of action or a casus belli between them.”
The same ruling, he said, benefits the world across the board because the Philippines does not see it as directed at any other country.
“The Philippines is proud to have contributed to the international rules-based order, to the affirmation of UNCLOS, and the strengthening of the legal order over the seas,” he further explained.
Secretary Locsin emphasized the Award is final. “We firmly reject attempts to undermine it; nay, even erase it from law, history and our collective memories. Anniversaries are an occasion to take stock of the past, mark the gains of the present, look to the future and find ways to work together for mutual benefit since no singular advantage can be gained by violating it,” he said.
He expressed the country’s commitment towards a peaceful South China Sea.
“For as long as nations abode 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,” he concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)
Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. (DFA File Photo)