War not necessary to defend PH’s rights over West Philippine Sea

Allowing China to ‘categorically’ declare ownership of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) contradicts the arbitral award of the disputed territory to the Philippines in 2016.

In his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte said that going up against China in pursuit of ownership in the WPS is like going to war and we, the whole nation, have no choice but to let it be.

“We have to go to war. And I cannot afford it. Maybe some other president can but I cannot. Inutil ako diyan. Talagang inutil ako diyan. Walang magawa. I cannot,” Duterte declared.

“China is claiming it, we are claiming it. China has the arms. We do not have it. So, it’s as simple as that. They are in possession of the property… so what can we do?” he added.

But let it be a reminder that, even if WPS is part of the South China Sea, it comprises the territorial sea, exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and extended continental shelf (ECS) of the Philippines, waters, and resources over which the Philippines has sovereignty or sovereign rights.
The country has the right to claim and to fight for it. It’s not necessarily going to war, just like what Duterte’s ‘lucid’ mind can think of.

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