News Release

PBBM tells global defense forum: ‘I do not intend to yield, Filipinos do not yield’

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday vowed the Philippines will not yield amid ongoing maritime challenges.

“As President, I have sworn to this solemn commitment from the very first day that I took office. I do not intend to yield. Filipinos do not yield,” President Marcos said in his speech before the delegates of the 21st International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Singapore’s officials were in attendance including President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, Senior Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and British IISS Executive Chairman Sir John Chipman, as well as government officials from the Philippines and other nations around the world.

In his address titled “Seven Realities and Three Constants: Addressing the Regional Security Challenges facing the Indo-Pacific”, President Marcos said, “We sought to uphold and preserve the integrity of our country’s physical unity through international law.”

“Together with others, we put forward the archipelagic doctrine, which regards all archipelagic states as a single unit, with the waters around, between, and connecting their islands, irrespective of their breadth and dimensions, forming part of their internal waters,” he said.

President Marcos said this doctrine has since been enshrined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The same Convention also clarified the limits of each state’s maritime zones and defined the extent with which they could exercise sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction over those zones, President Marcos pointed out.

President Marcos said the Philippines has made a conscious effort to align the definition of the territory and maritime zones with what international law permits. “This has been inscribed in Article 1 of our Constitution,” he pointed out.

Our efforts stand in stark contrast to assertive actions that aim to propagate excessive and baseless claims through force, intimidation, and deception,” the President said.

In the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines is on the frontlines of efforts to assert the integrity of UNCLOS as the Constitution of the Oceans.

“We have defined our territory and maritime zones in a manner befitting a responsible and law-abiding member of the international community. We have submitted our assertions to rigorous legal scrutiny by the world’s leading jurists,” President Marcos stressed.

He remarked that the lines drawn on the waters are derived not from imagination, but from international law.

“We have on our side the 1982 UNCLOS and the binding 2016 Arbitral Award, which affirm what is ours by legal right,” President Marcos said.

“In this solid footing and through our clear moral ascendancy, we find the strength to do whatever it takes to protect our sovereign home — to the last square inch, to the last square millimeter,” he stressed.

The life-giving waters of the West Philippine Sea flow in the blood of every Filipino, Marcos said. “We cannot allow anyone to detach it from the totality of the maritime domain that renders our nation whole,” he declared.

President Marcos said that he was proud to co-sponsor our Archipelagic Baselines Law when he was a senator. The law defines the basis of the country’s maritime jurisdiction.

“As President, I look forward to signing our Maritime Zones Law, which will clarify the geographic extent of our maritime domain,” he said.

“We are not only unyielding in protecting our patrimony, our rights, and our dignity as a proud and as a free country. We are also firm in our commitment to regional and global peace,” he added.

“We renew this commitment at this turbulent juncture of our history. I will repeat what I said at the United Nations almost two years ago: Amidst challenging global tides, an important ballast stabilizes our common vessel: Our “open, inclusive, and rules-based international order that is governed by international law and informed by the principles of equity and of justice,” the President said. | PND