File resolution before UN asking SCS demilitarization, Duterte urged

Published August 31, 2020, 2:20 PM

by Ben Rosario

The Philippines may be an underdog in the ongoing territorial dispute in the South China Sea but can be expected to win the support of the United Nations if President Duterte will appeal for UN intervention for the demilitarization of the dispute area.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate aired this optimism as he urged Duterte to heed the advise of former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to file a resolution asking the UN to supervise complete demilitarization of the South China Sea.

“It is almost certain that majority of the UN members will vote for the complete demilitarization of the South China Sea recognizing that China threatens international peace with its military expansionism in the region and will not allow for a peaceful resolution of the dispute if it maintains military superiority in the South China Sea,” said Zarate.

Zarate, together with Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmentares, said the Carpio proposal is an appeal for a peaceful resolution of the territorial dispute amid China’s alleged continued bullying tactics on Philippines and other countries laying claim over areas of the oil-rich sea.

“We strongly support the move of former acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio that the Philippines submit the dispute to the United Nations. We also demand that President Duterte file a resolution with the UN General Assembly calling for the UN to supervise the complete demilitarization of the South China Sea,” the partylist solon said.

In the proposed UN resolution, the Philippines will petition the brotherhood of nations to  ask  the Philippines, Vietnam, and China to dismantle any military installation and prohibit any military facility in the South China Sea.

“We urge other disputant countries such as Vietnam to support the Philippine resolution and generate votes with the General Assembly,” the opposition lawmaker said.

“Under Article 35 of the UN Charter, any member of the United Nations ‘may bring any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute’ that may endanger international peace and security, as is happening now in the disputed South China Sea,” he added.

Despite its claim that Chinese military have been harassing unarmed Filipino fishermen to leave Philippine held areas in the South China Sea, China  has countered by claiming provocation on the part of Filipinos.

“Once all military installations in the South China Sea, including those from Vietnam, Philippines, and China are dismantled, then all disputants can sit and discuss the peaceful resolution of the dispute” said Zarate.

Colmenares explained that the proposed Philippine resolution “merely asserts that, despite the Tribunal decision, the militarization of the South China Sea threatens peace and stability in the region and asks the United Nations General Assembly to supervise the demilitarization of the area.”

“The United Nations had recently supervised the demilitarization of various conflict areas such as Africa and demilitarizing the South China Sea will get the support of many countries,” the former congressman said.