P1NAS STATEMENT ON THE CALL TO DEMILITARIZE THE SOUTH CHINA SEA IN THE WAKE OF THE ARBITRATION COURT RULING AND US SECRETARY JOHN KERRY’S VISIT TO THE PHILIPPINES
July 27, 2016
For reference: P1NAS Spokesperson Neri Colmenares and P1NAS Convenor Butch Valdez
The ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) regarding the arbitration case against China over South China Sea represents a victory for the Philippines on the issue of sovereignty and strengthens the Philippine position for future talks with China.
In the midst of calls to defend Philippine sovereignty and territory against China is the reminder that the Filipino people should be careful not to rely on the United States. The US has its own vested interests in the Asia-Pacific region. It is not, and never has been a passive observer, nor is the US a good “ally” as it projects itself to be. Its geopolitical interest in the region is obvious, with its military and diplomatic Asian pivot deploying 60% of their total military forces in the region since 2012.
The Aquino administration, despite its knowledge of US hegemonic interests in the Asia Pacific region, signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US in 2014. EDCA has proved useless in defending Filipino fishermen who are routinely harassed and kept out of their fishing grounds in the disputed area. There is no truth to the idea that with EDCA, the US will defend the Philippines against China’s growing aggression.
The Philippines’ legal victory over China must be viewed from the vantage point of our national, economic, political and security interests. The South China Sea is the traditional sea route for merchant vessels travelling in the regions, is potentially rich in natural gas, oil and other resources, and holds an important strategic role for the defense of the region. It is for these reasons that China and the US are scrambling for control over the region. These same reasons should also give us the strong determination to continuously assert our sovereign rights, and call for the demilitarization of the South China Sea.
P1NAS calls on the Duterte government to stop allowing the Philippines to be used as a pawn in the struggle for control over the South China Sea between the big powers. We must resist these attempts to use our territory as a launching pad to strike at other nations. We call on the international community to support the Philippines as we assert the favorable ruling of the PCA on the South China Sea, and defend our sovereign rights.
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to the Philippines is timed to influence the meeting of the National Security Council even before it could independently deliberate on the issue. He makes himself the head of the group. We talk of sovereignty, yet whimper in the presence of this “ugly American”. We ask President Duterte to inspect the US military installations inside Philippine military bases. We support the declaration of President Duterte that WAR IS NOT AN OPTION and will not allow ourselves to be pawns or surrogates of any alien power.
DEFEND NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY!
REMOVE MILITARY FACILITIES IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA!
DEMILITARIZE THE SOUTH CHINA SEA!
US TROOPS OUT NOW!