Press Release
August 1, 2018


"It is preposterous and treacherous. It reverses our historic victory at The Hague and signs away Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea."

This was the statement issued today by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros as a response to the plan by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to conduct a joint exploration of natural resources with China in the West Philippine Sea.

Hontiveros said that the DFA's plan is absurd as it recognizes China's claim and ownership over the West Philippine Sea and nullifies the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). "Is this the result of the DFA's so-called 50-100 diplomatic actions against China? Is this what President Duterte calls an independent foreign policy?" she asked.

"In case the DFA failed to read the ruling, the UN decision is very clear. We have sovereign rights to access offshore oil and gas fields, including the Reed Bank, within our 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone. We don't share ownership of the West Philippine Sea with China," Hontiveros said.

The opposition Senator said that this was exactly what she feared would happen as a result of the Duterte government's non-transparent and subservient foreign policy, particularly its dealings with China. She reiterated her call to the Duterte government to undergo a foreign policy audit.

"This is precisely the reason why I am calling for a foreign policy audit, to determine if the government's foreign policy thrust and direction are still compatible with our sovereignty and security interests, and whether or not they are still in compliance with our international obligations, particularly the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea. With this latest development, I hope a parliamentary oversight of the Executive's foreign policy can be conducted the soonest," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros challenged the DFA to junk the planned joint exploration with China and focus on ways of enforcing the UN ruling on the West Philippine Sea.

"The people want a DFA that is courageous in asserting our historic victory at The Hague, not a foreign affairs office that the public can't distinguish anymore from the Chinese embassy," Hontiveros said.

News Latest News Feed