News Release

President Duterte grateful for Australia’s backing on sea row

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his remarks during the third day of the virtual plenary session of the 37th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN Summit) and Related Summits hosted by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse, Malacañang Park in Manila on November 14, 2020. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte expressed his gratitude Saturday to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for Australia’s support for the 2016 Arbitral Ruling on the South China Sea that favored the Philippines.

“I thank you for your kind words on my statement at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly on this matter,” President Duterte told Prime Minister Morrison during his intervention at the Second ASEAN-Australia Biennial Summit.

“Your Government’s formal manifestation before the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf reinforces our efforts to counter claims and assertive actions that contradict international law, particularly UNCLOS.”

These formal manifestations, President Duterte said, are of utmost significance to the integrity of the Convention and the procedures it has established.

“The growing chorus of nations affirming and defending what is right strengthens the legal order over our seas and oceans.”

At the same time, the Filipino leader welcomed Australia’s strong commitment to ASEAN Centrality and the principles of openness, inclusivity, respect for international law, and peaceful settlement of disputes.

“Maintaining peace, security and stability in the South China Sea is a shared strategic objective,” he said.

The President also thanked Australia’s technical assistance in the crafting of the Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Australia is also instrumental in making maternal and neonatal health services more accessible in Masbate under the Philippine-Australia Comprehensive Partnership, he said. PND