EX-ENVOY: PHL SHOULD NOT GIVE UP WEST PHL SEA TO CHINA
In November, all eyes are on the upcoming ASEAN Summit where member states and China may possibly announce the start of formal consultations and negotiations on the Code of Conduct in South China Sea on the basis of framework adopted during the summit in August.
It can be recalled that last year, the UN Arbitral Tribunal decided that the Philippines has exclusive rights over the disputed West Philippine Sea and that China's nine-dash line is invalid.
Former Ambassador of the Philippines to Scandinavia Rosario Manalo, who is the wife of late envoy Amando Manalo and the mother of DFA Undersecretary Enrique Manalo, a declaration of code of conduct does not legally bind member states.
She believes even if ASEAN members signed the declaration and China expressed its refusal, the Philippines cannot dictate the country in pursuing its maritime policies.
But the former envoy is hopeful that all disputes in South China Sea including the Kalayaan Islands and Baho de Masinloc will be fought by the Philippines through the diplomatic discussions in November.
Highlights of November's ASEAN Summit will be the signing of documents in relation to protection of migrant workers, cybercrime prevention, Manila's declaration to counter the rise of radicalization and violent extremism and announcement of formal negotiations on the Code of Conduct in South China Sea.