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March 22, 2016

‘Apec meetings boost PHL’s global reputation’

The country’s successful hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leaders’ Meeting and the initial legal victory of an arbitration case against China over disputed territorial waters have improved in a big way Manila’s global reputation, according to a legislator.

In a statement, House Deputy Minority Leader and LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty said the Apec summit in Manila and the positive outcome from The Hague are among the government’s best foreign policy accomplishments thus far.

“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 at the November 18 and 19 Apec summit, 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’s early legal gain at The Hague, other countries claiming portions of the South China Sea [West Philippine Sea], such as Indonesia and Vietnam, will likely be emboldened to also seek international arbitration against China,” Ty added. Manila prevailed over Beijing, when a PCA tribunal, in a verdict made public on October 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 aggressively claimed portions of, and building artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, and argued that the tribunal at the PCA had no right to hear Manila’s complaint.

But the tribunal said it can hear the merits of the Philippines’s case against China and render a decision by 2016.

The lawmaker also said the Philippines is now primed to play a more important role in regional economic development.

He cited an HSBC Global Research report —“The World in 2050”—which boldly predicted “the striking rise of Philippines, which is set to become the world’s 16th-largest economy by 2050, up 27 places from today.”

Ty also cited a similar report by the multinational professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which forecast that the Philippines “would emerge as the world’s 20th largest economy by 2050, passing Thailand and Malaysia, as well as Australia.”
 

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