Duterte ‘weakened’ PH claim over West Philippine Sea — Osmeña

Inquirer.net October 25,2016 - 11:51 AM
The BRP Sierra Madre, a fleet marine detachment in Ayungin Shoal.

The BRP Sierra Madre, a fleet marine detachment in Ayungin Shoal.

President Rodrigo Duterte has “weakened” the country’s claim over the West Philippine Sea when he asked permission from China to allow Filipino fishermen to go back to Scarborough Shoal, former Senator Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III said on Monday.

Osmeña said the President did not only weaken the country’s stand on the disputed waters but he has also strengthened the China’s claim over it even after an international court ruling in favor of the Philippines.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) under the United Nations ruled last July in favor of the Philippines in its arbitration case against China over the South China Sea.

But the former senator noted that Duterte “has not made a big issue out of it.”

“As a matter of fact, he has weakened it somewhat, and we’re hopeful that he’ll be able to find a way to go back to our original position which is the 200-kilometer Exclusive Economic Zone (EZZ) has been decided properly,” Osmeña said in an interview at the Senate before attending a hearing.

He said the Philippines’ claim over the West Philippine Sea weakened when Duterte negotiated with China to allow the Filipino fishermen to fish in Scarborough Shoal.

Osmeña, who admitted encouraging Duterte to run for President, also scoffed at the President’s “mishandling” of the country’s foreign affairs, specially his plan to forge alliances with Russia and China.

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TAGS: Arbitration, China, Duterte, EEZ, Exclusive Economic Zone, Kalayaan Group of Islands, Permanent Court of Arbitration, Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte, Rodrigo Duterte, Russia, Scarborough Shoal, Serge Osmeña, Sergio Osmena, Spratlys Island, West philippine Sea

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