MANILA, Philippines – Former foreign secretary Albert Del Rosario on Tuesday, August 6, commended President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to finally bring up with China the Hague ruling that asserted the country's rights in the West Philippine Sea.
"On the announcement that our President intends to 'invoke' the Hague ruling on his next visit to China, let us salute him and assure him of the support of all Filipinos," Del Rosario said in a statement.
Del Rosario was responding to Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo's announcement that this was the intention behind Duterte's visit to China this August – the 5th in his presidency.
Aside from this, Panelo said Duterte also planned to bring up other flashpoints in the West Philippine Sea, the recent ramming of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese boat in Recto Bank last June, and the proposed joint oil and gas exploration with China.
Del Rosario earlier warned the Philippines should adopt a "multilateral approach" to asserting its rights in the marine area "before we get shoved around any further leading us to irreversible consequences." (READ: Del Rosario: PH must urge U.N. to back Hague ruling)
In April, Del Rosario had urged the Duterte government to "finally unshelve" the victory won by the Philippines at The Hague. He made the statement after reports said hundreds of Chinese militia circled Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.
Months after, in July, the continued presence of Chinese vessels in the vicinity of Pag-asa Island prompted Foreign Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin Jr to file a diplomatic protest against China.
Del Rosario was the country's foreign secretary when the Philippines decided to file its historic case against China.
Since the Philippines won the Hague ruling in July 2016, Duterte has decided to shelve it to boost economic ties with Beijing. Duterte however said "there will come a time" when he will confront China about the Hague ruling. – Rappler.com