Duterte: PH arbitral win vs China just a ‘piece of paper’

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night said that the arbitral victory of the Philippines against China’s claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) was nothing more than a scrap of paper to be thrown in the trash bin.

In his second late-night public address this week, the President said he had attempted to assert the 2016 ruling, but the Philippines gained nothing.

Iyang papel sa totoong buhay between nation, iyang papel wala ‘yan. Kung sino ‘yong tigas, United States, Britain ‘yan, pagka ginusto nilang ganyan gawin (That paper, in real life between nations, that paper is nothing. Whoever is stronger like the United States, Britain, they will do whatever they want),” Duterte said.

Tapos sabi nila itong papel na sa kaso nanalo tayo i-pursue mo. Pinursue ko, walang nangyari. Sabi… Actually in — sa usapang bugoy, sabihin ko sa iyo ibigay mo sa’kin, sabihin ko sa’yo p***** i**, papel lang ‘yan. Itatapon ko ‘yan sa wastebasket (They told me to pursue this paper, our victory. I pursued it, nothing happened. In thug talk, I’d tell you son of a b*tch, that’s just a piece of paper. I’ll throw that in the wastebasket),” he added.

In 2016, the Hague-based tribunal ruled that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the South China Sea areas falling within the so-called nine-dash line.

It also found that China supposedly violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by interfering with the country’s fishing and petroleum exploration activities by building artificial islands.

China has repeatedly ignored the 2016 sea ruling, while the Philippines has sought to resolve the maritime row through a diplomatic approach.

Duterte had decided to temporarily shelve the ruling to maintain peace, stability, and cordial relations among claimant countries in the region.

The President, however, said he would raise the ruling “maybe once” before his term ends in 2022.

Tension in the disputed territory recently escalated after the Philippines protested the unlawful stay of Chinese ships in local waters. Some ships left the Julian Felipe Reef but others have reportedly scattered to other parts of the West Philippine Sea.

In his remarks on Wednesday, Duterte said he has no plan to beg the United Nations to help the Philippines in its long-standing dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea.

He maintained that he would continue to keep the Philippines’ mended ties with China  and continue to honor its debt of gratitude to the communist state.

Thus, the Philippines would not initiate a war against China, according to Duterte.

“Do you know the dimensions of utang na loob? Iyong utang na loob iba ‘yong away. Ito para tayong ano diyan ang neighbor nila naghirap, oh tinulungan tayo. So sinabi ko salamat at may utang na loob tayo (Do you the dimensions of debt of gratitude? Debt of gratitude is different from conflict. So we’re like the neighbor in need they helped. I said thank you. We owe them a debt of gratitude),” he said.

“And if ever the country gets the intervention from the UN or the United States, Duterte asked his critics if they were prepared to go to war. He said he would not send government troops to war over the sea dispute. “Why would I waste Filipino soldiers’ lives? Iyon ang totoo (that’s the truth),” Duterte added.

Meanwhile, Duterte expressed his intent to launch an investigation into the country’s withdrawal of its ships in the West Philippine Sea amid the 2012 standoff with China.

The President said he wanted to personally ask former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario why they let the Philippines withdraw the Philippine vessels in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in 2012.

Napaalis na ni Albert. Ikaw, Albert, Alberto, bakit mo pinaatras? Kaninong permission ka naghingi? Ngayon kung wala kang maibigay, p***** i** mo, huwag mong ibigay sa akin ýung kasalanan mo (Albert withdrew the ships. Albert, why did you order the withdrawal of ships? Who gave you the permission? Now, if you can’t answer me, son of a b***, do not put the blame on me),” Duterte said.

Noong nag-presidente ako, wala ng barko doon, China lang (Our ships were no longer there when I became the president. Only China ships are there). One day, you will be tasked to answer for that. Iyang pag-order ninyo, dapat imbestigahan iyan. (Your order to withdraw ships should be investigated),” he added.

Duterte said he wanted to know if his predecessor, former president Benigno Aquino 3rd , allowed del Rosario to withdraw the Philippine ships in Scarborough Shoal.

“Albert called maybe the ship, ordered it to withdraw. The mystery question here is: Was it approved by President Aquino? Siya ‘yung president (He’s the president at that time),” he said.

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