Bill seeks to declare July 12 every year as ‘West PH Sea Victory Day’

Published March 16, 2019, 11:36 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

The House Committee on Revision of Laws has endorsed for plenary approval a bill seeking to declare July 12 of every year as the “West Philippine Sea Victory Day” to commemorate the historic decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in favor of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea maritime dispute.

MB FILE—Photographed through the window of a closed aircraft, an aerial view shows Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines on July 20, 2011. (EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA/POOL / MANILA BULLETIN)
Photographed through the window of a closed aircraft, an aerial view shows Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines on July 20, 2011. (EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA/POOL / MANILA BULLETIN file photo)

 

Under  Committee Report 1152, the panel sought the final approval of House Bill 8966, which substituted House Bill 8701, principally authored by MAGDALO partylist Rep. Gary Alejano.

Under House Bill 8966,  July 12 of every year will be declared a special working holiday in the entire country in commemoration of the historic decision rendered by the PCA in favor of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea maritime dispute.

Alejano cited the need to designate July 12 as a special working holiday in order to preserve the significance and importance of the PCA ruling.

“This will also ensure that our rights and access over the resources in the West Philippine Sea are preserved as well as to endeavor the government to continually uphold our rights in the West Philippine Sea and ascertain that the policies that the government will pursue is consistent with this ruling, ” he said.

On July 12, 2016, the PCA issued a unanimous decision favoring the Philippines, declaring that China’s “nine-dash line” has no legal basis in international law. The PCA ruling affirms the country’s entitlements over the resources within the West Philippine Sea.

The bill tasks the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to plan and implement activities to ensure the meaningful observance of the holiday “with the aim of inspiring and instilling a sense of patrimonial pride in every Filipino.”

“This is to ensure that the significance of this historic decision shall continue to inspire and instill a sense of pride in every Filipino as well as to endeavor the government to continually uphold our rights in the West Philippine Sea and ascertain that the policies that the government will pursue is consistent with this ruling, ” Alejano said.

The proposed Act shall take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

 
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