20 May 2017

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On Associate Justice Carpio’s remarks that PRRD gave green light to China reclamation activities in WPS
President Rodrigo R. Duterte maintains a two-track approach to our relationship with PROC; one, to grow our healthy economic, trade and investment relationships, and to ensure that our arbitral rights in the WPS are not compromised, more so now through the newly established bilateral consultation mechanism to manage disputes in the area.

With all due respect to the Senior Associate Justice, Chinese island-building and military deployment activities on certain features in the West Philippine Sea have been ongoing for some years now.

The disputes in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea are not the sum total our relations with China, but we are cognizant of the warmer relationships we have in the region.

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella Re: PH engages PROC on WPS claims
The Philippines engaged PROC in a frank discussion on possible oil explorations in the WPS.

President Duterte was forthright about its economic rights awarded by the Arbitral Court in the Hague, a claim the Chinese leader said they would vigorously contest given their historic claims to the area.

Given this complexity both parties agreed to pursue a more peaceful resolution to the matter that satisfies both our sovereign and economic rights.