Several graduates of San Beda urged their fellow alumnus President Duterte to take back his statements on the West Philippine Sea issue.
In a “fraternal statement of concern” released on Sunday, May 16, at least 129 San Beda alumni called on Duterte to retract his public statement that China is in possession of the West Philippine Sea.
They also asked Duterte to retract his declaration that the Arbitral Award “is a mere scrap of paper, and should be thrown in the wastebasket.”
“[When] a part of our country’s territory is taken against our will by the People’s Republic of China and our countrymen, particularly the fishermen, are threatened with force from exclusively enjoying our nation’s marine resources, the President is solemnly bound to uphold, defend, and protect his countrymen and the integrity of our national territory,” the statement read.
Duterte is also urged to “categorically, demonstrably, and publicly” uphold the mandate of the Philippine Constitution that protects the nation’s maritime wealth in its archipelagic water, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
In a televised address on May 6, Duterte said the arbitral ruling that ruled in favor of the Philippines in a maritime dispute was nothing more than a scrap of paper to be thrown in the trash bin.
Beijing’s claim to the West Philippine Sea, including areas under the Philippines’ EEZ, was declared illegal in July 2016 by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration following a lawsuit filed by Manila in 2013.
China, however, does not recognize the ruling.