15 May 2016
  • Seeking arbitration over maritime dispute with China is reasonable, says Palace official
  • President Aquino declares May 19 as non-working holiday in Butuan City
Seeking arbitration over maritime dispute with China is reasonable, says Palace official
A Palace official on Sunday said the Philippines is right in seeking the assistance of the international arbitration court to resolve its case against China over disputed territory in the South China Sea.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the participation of the Philippines in the arbitration proceedings is in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

China has refused to take part in the arbitration and wanted the maritime row to be resolved peacefully through negotiations between the parties directly concerned.

“May iba tayong pananaw diyan. Ang partisipasyon ng Pilipinas sa arbitration proceedings ng international arbitration court ay isang matibay na pagtalima sa mga prinsipyong isinasaad sa United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea o UNCLOS,” said Coloma when asked for comment during an interview over Radyo ng Bayan.

“Ito ay bunsod ng pagtataguyod ng ating bansa ng isang rules-based approach tungo sa mapayapang pagresolba ng mga isyu hinggil sa maritime entitlement claims sa West Philippine Sea,” the Palace official added.

Coloma noted that China, as one of the signatories of the UNCLOS, should join the arbitration.

“Sa ating pananaw bilang bahagi ng international community, higit na maipapakita ng China ang pagtalima sa UNCLOSkung saan isa ito sa mga signatories at iba pang kahalintulad ng international laws sa pamamagitan ng partisipasyon o pakikibahagi sa arbitration,” said Coloma.

The United States, United Kingdom and Japan are among the countries which have expressed their support to a peaceful settlement of the Philippines-China sea row.

“Hindi nag-iisa ang Pilipinas sa paniniwalang makatwiran ang paghain ng petisyon sa arbitral tribunal. Marami ng bansa kabilang na ang mga sumusunod: Estados Unidos, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy at Japan ang nagpahayag ng pagtataguyod sa mga prinsipyo ng kapayapaan, seguridad at katatagan sa rehiyong Asya-Pasipiko at pagtutol sa tinawag nilang “intimidating, coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions” sa bahagi ng South China Sea o West Philippine Sea,” explained Coloma.

The UN Charter and international law encourages peaceful settlement of rows through dialogue. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), on the other hand, respects the decision of the parties concerned to choose how to settle the disagreement. PND (jm)

President Aquino declares May 19 as non-working holiday in Butuan City
President Benigno S. Aquino III has issued Proclamation No. 1258 as a special (non-working) holiday in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte to mark the celebration of the Balangay Festival on May 19.

The President likewise issued Proclamation No. 1260 declaring August 2 as a special (non-working) holiday to allow the people of Butuan City to celebrate and participate in the commemoration of “Adlaw Hong Butuan”.

The Chief Executive also declared June 15 as a special (non-working) holiday in the province of Pampanga and Angeles City by virtue of Proclamation No. 1259.

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in Zambales on June 15, 1991 was considered as the second-largest volcanic eruption in the twentieth century that caused massive destruction in the Provinces of Zambales, Pampanga, Bataan, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.

“In response to the tragedy, the then late President Corazon C. Aquino created Presidential Task Mount Pinatubo to fast track the recovery and assimilation of the affected families to the mainstreams of our society by providing them housing units in safe areas and livelihood activities; and to render appropriate tribute to those who perished, as well as to those who survived and to those who helped in the relocation, rehabilitation and recovery of Pinatubo affected families, the Province of Pampanga will hold commemorative programs on 15 June 2016 in remembrance of that ruinous volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo and to acknowledge in fitting public ceremonies the resiliency of the Kapampangans to rise from any form of adversity,” read the proclamation.

“It is but fitting and proper that the people of the Province of Pampanga and City of Angeles be given full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies,” the proclamation stated.

All three proclamations were signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. by authority of President Aquino. PND (jm)