Press Release
July 15, 2016

Pimentel: PHL must "exercise its power of control over disputed areas

The Philippines must now "peacefully assert its power of control" over areas in the West Philippine Sea falling under its exclusive economic zone after a court ruled Tuesday that China's actions in the area violate international law, incoming Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today said.

The decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague "validates the Philippine claim of jurisdiction over certain shoals, reefs and outcrops," Pimentel said in a press statement.

Pimentel quickly called on China and other States to "respect such reasonable and objective ruling, which determined that China's historical claims to 90 percent of the area, also known as the South China Sea, had no legal justification.

Pimentel said Filipinos have a reason to be "euphoric" over the ruling, which further determined that all of the land in the Spratly Islands chain are rocks, not islands.

"We ensure that the exercise of our sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea would bring more development and progress to our country and people," Pimentel said.

Pimentel, who is also the president of the administration party PDP Laban, said the Philippines would continue to "respect the right and freedom of innocent passage and navigation of all vessels and airplanes in and over the area."

He said this is "pursuant to all treaty obligations sanctioned by the United Nations as well as all binding bilateral agreements with other nations."

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