By Amb. Albert Del Rosario
Former Secretary of Foreign Affairs
We are deeply thankful that President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. declared what Filipinos would like to hear: that the 2016 Arbitral Ruling is not a claim but already a right, that our sovereignty is “sacred,” and that he would not “allow a single millimeter of our maritime coastal rights to be trampled upon.”
War has never been an option for the Philippines as war is outlawed by our Constitution and international law.
However, the President, as chief protector of our national territory, has various ways to fulfill his sacred duty to the Filipino people.
Among these are: consistently raising the Award at the United Nations General Assembly and other international for a, consolidating the support of other countries which believe in the Arbitral Ruling and the Rule of Law, making China accountable for the environmental crimes it committed in the West Philippine Sea, and building a minimum credible defense posture to protect our national territory.
In terms of protecting our national territory, we believe that upholding the 2016 Arbitral Ruling is the right thing to do and a correct start.
It is our fervent hope that President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. will abide by his words to protect our West Philippine Sea for the benefit of our countrymen.