Hontiveros: Marcos’ plan to assert Hague ruling should accompany protection for PH fisherfolk

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday, May 27, welcomed the incoming administration of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.,’s plan to uphold a 2016 decision by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that favored the Philippine’s diplomatic protest against China’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea.

Nevertheless, Hontiveros said she hopes that in the process of the foreign policy pronouncements of the incoming president, the welfare and safety of the country’s fishermen would be on top of the Marcos administration’s agenda.

“A more assertive foreign policy stance of the incoming administration is certainly welcome,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

“But this should be accompanied by concrete action to ensure our fisherfolk have access to their traditional fishing grounds and our forces in the area have the resources, equipment, and supplies they need to uphold our sovereign rights,” she said.

Marcos Jr. earlier vowed that his administration would not compromise the country’s sovereignty and allow its maritime coastal rights to be trampled upon by foreign powers.

“Our sovereignty is sacred and we will not compromise it any way...We have a very important ruling in our favor and we will use it to continue to assert our territorial rights. It’s not a claim. It’s already our territorial right,” Marcos Jr. said in a recent press briefing with local media.

“We’re talking about China and how do we do that? We talk to China consistently with a firm voice,” the president-elect stressed.

Even former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who served during the Aquino administration, welcomed Marcos’ remarks on the PCA ruling.

“We are deeply thankful that President-elect Marcos Jr. declared what Filipinos would like to hear: that the 2016 arbitral ruling is not a claim but already a right; that our sovereignty is ‘sacred’ and that he would not ‘allow a single millimeter of our maritime coastal rights to be trampled upon,” Del Rosario said in a statement.