Upholding International Laws and Sovereignty
In a significant development, Department of National Defense (DND) on Monday, Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. stressed that the Philippines conducts all maritime operations, including those within the West Philippine Sea (WPS), within a rules-based framework.
Secretary Teodoro’s comments underscore the country’s commitment to upholding international laws and conventions, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and relevant Philippine legislation.
Speaking on the sidelines of the dedication ceremony of Basa Air Base’s newly rehabilitated runway in Floridablanca, Pampanga, Teodoro conveyed,
“We are merely asserting our rights secured by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and relevant Philippine laws. We conduct these operations within areas where the Philippine government rightfully operates.”
A Commitment to Sovereignty without Conflict
Secretary Teodoro emphasized that Manila’s actions do not seek conflict but rather aim to uphold Philippine sovereignty in a balanced and responsible manner. He referred to the ongoing efforts to resupply detachments and conduct sovereignty patrols in the West Philippine Sea, highlighting the importance of adhering to international law and UNCLOS.
“And that is simply what we are doing, and in such a case not only the United States but other governments have chimed in the chorus in support of the Philippine government,” Teodoro explained.
“The reason is simple: the Philippine government’s operations are based on a rules-based international order, international law, and UNCLOS. So, I think that we are asserting the same thing, and that is the predicate on which not only the United States but several other countries operate with us in this area,” he added.
Strategic Operations Amid Anticipated Challenges
Teodoro had previously stated that the Philippines intends to continue its operations in the West Philippine Sea in a “balanced” manner, anticipating potential challenges and increased harassment from China.
He emphasized that the Philippine government would carefully plan any activity in the WPS, including resupply missions, to avoid escalating tensions or conflicts. The government undertakes these actions with the utmost consideration for the country’s best interests.
The Philippines’ commitment to a rules-based approach in the West Philippine Sea not only strengthens its stance on maritime disputes but also underscores the importance of international laws and UNCLOS in resolving such issues.
With its dedication to upholding sovereignty while avoiding conflict, the Philippines seeks to maintain stability in the region while asserting its rights within international legal parameters.