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March 22, 2016

APEC meet, legal victory vs. China have boosted PH’s global reputation -- solon

The Philippines’ successful hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and the country’s initial legal victory in its arbitration case against China over disputed territorial waters “have improved in a big way Manila’s global reputation,” House Deputy Minority Leader and LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty said Thursday.
“APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Manila and the positive preliminary ruling that we recently obtained with respect to our arbitration proceedings against China are among President Benigno Aquino III’s best foreign policy accomplishments,” Ty said.
“Inspired by these foreign policy feats, the country is now ready to assume an even greater role in pushing for peace and security as well as sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
          The Philippines received world leaders during the Nov. 18-19 APEC summit just days after a tribunal established by The Hague, Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) unanimously decided it has the right to pass judgment on Manila’s historic case against Beijing over contested territorial waters.
“As a result of the Philippines’ early legal gain at The Hague, other countries claiming portions of the South China Sea, such as Indonesia and Vietnam, will likely be emboldened to also seek international arbitration against China,” Ty pointed out.
The Philippines is now primed to play a more important role in regional economic development, according to Ty.
          He cited the HSBC Global Research report -- The World in 2050 -- which boldly predicted “the striking rise of Philippines, which is set to become the world’s sixteenth-largest economy by 2050, up 27 places from today.”
          Ty also cited a similar report by the multinational professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which projected “that the Philippines would emerge as the world’s the 20th largest economy by 2050, passing Thailand, Malaysia as well as Australia.”
In its lingering territorial dispute with Beijing, Manila prevailed when a PCA tribunal, in a verdict made public on Oct. 29, held that both the Philippines and China are parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and therefore “bound by its provisions on the settlement of disputes.”
Beijing has been aggressively claiming portions of, and building artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, and had argued that the tribunal at the PCA had no right to hear Manila’s arbitration case.
But the tribunal said it can hear the merits of the Philippines' case against China and render a decision by 2016.
Meanwhile, Ty welcomed US President Barack Obama’s pledge to transfer to Manila two additional vessels under America’s Excess Defense Article Program: a research ship to help map territorial service and a high endurance cutter to bolster the Philippine Navy’s conduct of long maritime patrols.
Ty has been pushing for the Philippines’ acquisition of new warships, including frigates, missile gunboats and fast attack crafts, for deployment to the West Philippine Sea.
“We have to secure and harness the vast oil and natural gas deposits of the West Philippine Sea for the great benefit of future generations of Filipinos,” Ty said.

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