UPANG laging maalala ng mga Filipino na saklaw ng Filipinas ang West Philippine Sea (WPS) iminungkahi ni Deputy Speaker at Cagayan de Oro City representative Rufus Rodriguez na ideklara ang 12 Hulyo kada taon na National West Philippine Sea Victory Day.
Sa House Resolution No. 1975 na isinumite noong 7 Hulyo 2021, hinimok ni Rodriguez ang Kongreso na gawing National West Philippine Sea Victory Day ang 12 Hulyo.
“This declaration will celebrate our government’s July 12, 2016 triumph before the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration, which upheld our country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea, much of which our ‘frenemy’ China is illegally claiming as part of its territory,” ani Rodriguez.
Aniya malinaw sa UN Convention on the Law of the Sea na ang Kalayaan Island group at bahagi ng Spratly islands malapit sa Palawan at Panatag Shoal sa Zambales at Pangasinan ay parte ng 200-mile exclusive economic zone ng bansa.
Giit ni Rodriguez, ilegal na sinakop ng Tsina ang mga isla na nararapat para sa Filipinas kagaya ng Panatag o Scarborough Shoal, kung tawagin ng mga Pinoy na mangngingisda ay Bajo de Masinloc.
“The WPS is exceptionally biodiverse, and contains numerous species of fish, echinoderms, mangroves, seagrasses, giant clams, and marine turtles, including those considered vulnerable or endangered, and vast coral reefs,” anang deputy speaker.
“Because of the rich natural resources in the West Philippine Sea, China has made untenable claims of indisputable sovereignty over the entire South China Sea based on its so-called ‘nine-dash line’ that encroaches on 80 percent of the Philippines’ EEZ in the WPS,” paliwanag ni Rodriguez.
Aniya importante sa pamahalaan na tiyaking maalaala ng bawat Pinoy na ang WPS ay bahagi ng soberanya ng bansa alinsunod sa pasya ng The Hague.
“It is in this context that we should celebrate our David against Goliath triumph on July 12 of every year, but we should insist every minute that China should recognize, respect and abide by the ruling,” aniya. (GERRY BALDO)