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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Carpio urges next president to have multilateral strategy in maritime security

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A multilateral approach to maritime and defense security should be a top strategy for the next administration, according to former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

Carpio was a key speaker at a foreign policy forum organized by Stratbase ADR Institute held recently via online.

Carpio, in his forum message, said that all countries that are part of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS)—with the notable exception of China—“understand and recognize that all the living and non-living resources in the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone belong exclusively to the Philippines.”

Carpio pointed out two courses of action to peacefully settle disputes between and among states.

First, five ASEAN coastal states invited China to join the voluntary arbitration to settle the issues of EEZs and extended continental shelves, but China’s refusal of the arbitration will serve to isolate it, and it can no longer say that these coastal states cannot resolve their own maritime disputes.

Second, once the arbitration is concluded, the ASEAN coastal states can enter into a convention, he said.

“We must strengthen the rule of law in compliance with peaceful settlement of disputes among states in accordance with the UN Charter. We do not want any state to resort to the use of force or the threat of force to settle territorial or maritime disputes, as what is happening now in Eastern Europe,” Carpio said.

Prof. Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit, president of Stratbase ADR Institute said: “The Philippines cannot endure another term of defeatist and weak security and foreign policy, especially in the context of national security.”

A Stratbase-commissioned survey revealed that 85 percent of Filipinos want the next president to build on alliances in defending territorial and economic rights. Manhit said the next leader should act and defend the country’s sovereign rights and assert its territorial integrity through stronger and more responsive foreign and security policies.

Dr. Renato de Castro, trustee and program convenor of the Stratbase ADR Institute, described President Rodrigo Duterte’s appeasement policy as merely agreeing to manage the dispute according to Chinese terms, which means having a bilateral negotiation, setting aside the arbitral ruling, and playing with the idea of a joint development.

“Fortunately for the Filipino people, the defense and military and the foreign affairs establishment have questioned President Duterte’s grand strategy to appease China,” said De Castro, who is also a professor at the International Studies Department of De La Salle University-Manila.

De Castro said a National Security Strategy based on the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration should be formulated. “The task of the next president is to come up with this grand strategy and present it to the public,” he said.

Richard Heydarian, a non-resident fellow of the Stratbase ADR Institute, said: “It’s very important our next president, whoever that is, that person is far more uncompromising and coherent than the current president.”

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