Manila, Philippines – Together with various patriotic groups, the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) trooped to Chinese Consulate in Makati while waiting for the arbitral tribunal’s final verdict of the case filed by the Philippines against China regarding the sea row.

The protest was led by the broad patriotic alliance Pilipinong Nagkakaisa Para sa Soberanya (P1NAS), which Pamalakaya is also a convener.

“This is the judgment day. The day everybody is waiting for. The day where the Permanent Court of Arbitration will finally release its ruling on who is the legal claimant of the long-disputed West Philippine Sea,” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.

Fishermen from the province of Zambales particularly in Bajo de Masinloc were also in the protest to decry China’s aggressive incursion that post threat to their livelihoods and security. Since China has occupied the Scarborough Shoal, Filipino fisherfolk were unable to fish in the waters where China is doing its reclamation activities.

“Filipino fishers have all experienced the worst. They are the front-line casualties of this maritime-dispute having nil support from the past administrations,” France said.

The fisherfolk brought with them a shattered boat to symbolize the adverse effect of Chinese usurpation to the lives and livelihoods of the fishers.

“If the arbitral decision favors the Philippines claim, China should respect the decision. They are obliged to pack-up and leave our waters and settle the sea row in any peaceful ways that are possible.

We urge the Filipino people to unite and intensify the defiance against foreign domination in the name of defending our sovereignty and territorial integrity.” France ended. ###

For reference:
Salvador France, PAMALAKAYA Vice Chairperson – 0948-996-4477
Jam Pinpin, PAMALAKAYA Public Information Officer – 0942-274-5591

News release
July 12, 2016

Cong. Sarah Elago, Kabataan Partylist Representative (09756420124)
Marjohara Tucay, Kabataan Partylist National President (09202205556)

“We await with high hopes the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration regarding the West Philippine Sea issue. We are confident that the international arbitral tribunal will junk China’s ludicrous claim over West Philippine Sea through its purported ‘nine-dash line’ argument.”

This is Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago’s statement mere hours before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague hands down its ruling on the Philippines’ case against China’s claims over most of the South China Sea.

China is claiming sovereignty over South China Sea’s 3.5 million square kilometers, part of which falls under Philippine territory. The Philippine government has taken the dispute to arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, a case in which Beijing has repeatedly refused to participate.

“We are optimistic that the arbitral tribunal will find China’s frivolous claim as nothing but superstition. Right ahead, we call on China to respect whatever the results of the decision may be, and let the rule of law prevail over the disputed waters,” Elago said.

The lawmaker, who will join progressive organizations in a protest in front of the Chinese Consulate in Makati City later today, also called on Beijing not to further “militarize the issue.”

“We are very much alarmed with China’s aggressive efforts to assert its claim in the disputed seas. First, there was the issue of reclamation and the construction of artificial islands. Now, it is clear that Beijing is also militarizing the area, thereby threatening stability in the South China Sea and further escalating the territorial dispute,” Elago said, referring to the build-up of Chinese armed forces in Paracel Islands, an island group just a stone’s throw away from Philippine boundaries.

“We continue to condemn in the strongest sense Beijing’s brash attempt to militarize the disputed waters. It bodes ill for the stability of the region, and may even escalate the already tense territorial dispute,” Elago explained, saying that the presence of missile launchers near the boundaries of Philippine territory is a “clear threat” to Philippine sovereignty.

“Beijing should once and for all respect international laws. We fervently pray that the arbitral tribunal’s verdict that will be released later today will pave the way to peace, and not escalate the already tense situation in the West Philippine Sea,” Elago stressed.###

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