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MoNDAY / MARCH 25, 2019


Panel OKs West PH
Sea Victory Day bill
By DJ Vap

In a move that may not sit well with Beijing, a

House of Representatives panel has en- I o-
;dorsed bill that wotid
a qnake July rz wery ll0


The Filipinos argued that
FR0t'l ll China's clai'm had no basis in the
United Nations Convention on l

the Law ofthe sea (Unclos).

iear West Philippine Sea Victory On July 12, 2016, the Hague
DaY to commemorate the PhiIiP- court handed down a unani-
pines' successful challenge to mous decision decladng China's
china's claim over nearly the en- claim invalid and pronouncing
iire south China Sea. Chiria in violation of the Philip-
The House committee on re- pines' sovereign right to fish
vision of laws chaired by Pan- and explore resources in the
gasinan Rep. Marlyn Pdmi- West Philippine Sea.
cias-Agabas approved last montl\ \ilgt President Duterte, lyho '
House Bill No. 8966 setting July 2 came to power two weeks be-
as anational holiday to celebrate fore the decision came down,
the Philippine victory in the Per- has refused to asscit the ruling,;
m4rent Court of Arbitration in preferring to improve, relations
The Hague, the Netherlands, on with China to obtain Chinese
that date in 2016. aid, loans and investments.
Chha was only too happy to
Court victory oblige Mr. Duterte, and pledged
' The bill authored by Agabas $24 billion to help finance his am-
and Rep. Gary Atejano of the bitious infrastructure program.
Magdalo partylist group would
"commemorate the momentous 'No legalbasis'
victory of the Philippines" in "Thb larbitral court] de-
t}Ie United Nations arbitral clared that China's lsweeping .

court, "preserve the signifi- claiml has no tegal basis in in-

cance of the ruling," and "en- ternational law. Moreover, the
sure that our rights and access efforts exerted by the PhiliP-
[to] the resources in the West 'pine government displaYed our
Philippine Sea are preserved." country's commitment to inter-
west Philippine Sea is the national law and due Process,"
local name of the waters within Aleiano said in a statement.
the Philippines' 37o-kilorneter "More impodantly, the [td-
exclusive economic zone in the bunal'sl ruling affirms the coun-
3.5-million-square-kilometer try's entitlements over the re-
South China Sea. sources within the West Philip-
In 2013, under then President pine Sea," he said
Benigno Aquino III, the Philip- The bill directs the Depart-
pine government initiated arbi- ment of Foreign Affairs to Plan
trat proceedings against China at and implement activities that
the UN tribunal to invalidate inspire and instill a sense ofPat-
CNna's sweeping claim over the rimonial pride in every FiliPino.
'franclf F,Ae€'/
resource-rich south Chifia Sea,