President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his disdain during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) China Special Summit yesterday, November 22, on the Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal incident that occurred on November 16.
“We abhor the recent event in the Ayungin Shoal and view with grave concern other similar developments. This does not speak well of the relations between our nations and our partnership,” said the Philippines’ 16th President.
The Ayungin Shoal incident garnered international attention and criticism of China after three of its Coast Guard vessels blocked and water-cannoned two Philippine boats meant to deliver food supplies to the Philippine military personnel stationed there.
Duterte also added that the Philippines have the rights on the controversial area based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 Arbitral Award, and all parties involved should honor and uphold the ruling.
“UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral Award provide legal clarity…pointing us to a just and fair solution to our disputes. We must fully utilize these legal tools to ensure that the South China Sea remains a sea of peace, stability and prosperity,” said Duterte.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled in favor of the Philippines, where the controversial Spratly Island, about 729 km away from the island of Palawan, is within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Meanwhile, Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograless announced during his press briefing that the resupply boats deployed reached BRP Sierra Madre around noontime today, November 23.