Poe hails Tribunal decision over disputed West Philippine Sea

Sen. Grace Poe hailed the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, saying the establishment of the court’s immediate jurisdiction over the cases filed by the Philippine government against China brings the parties one step closer to resolving claims on the disputed West Philippine Sea.

The Tribunal declared that it is within its mandate to decide over seven out of the 15 issues raised by the Philippines, including the move to invalidate China’s nine-dash lines, and has set hearings for the presentation of the merits of the case.

The Tribunal also clarified that China’s refusal to participate in the proceedings does not deprive them of jurisdiction.

“This is a significant step toward a peaceful resolution. We should all be proud of this victory. This just goes to show that we are capable of standing up for our territory, our nation and our rights,” said Poe, the leading presidential contender.

Resolving territorial disputes is among Poe’s 20-point program of government, which she bared during her declaration of presidential bid in September. The senator said she would pursue legal and diplomatic means to protect our territory without putting in peril economic and trade relations with China.

“We shall continue to uphold the rule of law and pursue legal and diplomatic avenues to protect and assert our rightful claim to the West Philippine Sea,” Poe said during her proclamation speech on September 16.

Moving forward, Poe vowed to enact an updated and relevant National Security Act to protect and strengthen our Defense agencies.

The Philippines formally sought international arbitration in January 2013 amid continued incursions by China and after nearly two decades of bilateral talks.