Cayetano prepares for DFA, joins South China Sea meet

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Preparing to assume the post of foreign affairs secretary by the middle of this year, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano has been joining presidential visits and meetings abroad as well as international conferences on the South China Sea (SCS).

Cayetano, who will replace Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., participated in an international conference on “The South China Sea Award: The Legal Dimension” held in Singapore’s Regent Hotel from Jan. 5 to 6.

Aside from Cayetano, the event was attended by Philippine embassy officials in Singapore led by Consul General Victorio Mario Dimagiba Jr., Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and other officials.

They were invited by the National University of Singapore (NUS)-Center for International Law, which organized the event.

Academicians and experts exchanged views on the legal elements of the award in terms of jurisdiction, historic rights, status and entitlements of features in the SCS, and protection of the marine environment. 

The participants discussed the possible implications of the award to jurisprudence on the law of the sea.

Cayetano and Carpio met with Kishore Mahbubani, dean of NUS’s Lee Kuan Yew school of public policy, and discussed with him future collaborations as well as developments in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region.

The meeting was attended by foreign affairs officials Leo Tito Ausan Jr., Evangeline Ong-Jimenez Ducrocq, Ma. Antonina Mendoza-Oblena, Anwar Ito and Hermes Ocampo, and Assistant Solicitor General Raymund Rigodon.

In setting aside the territorial issue and the UN tribunal ruling, Yasay had said the only way to move forward is to strengthen other aspects in the country’s relations with China and pursue confidence-building measures.

The Philippines wants to improve its ties with China particularly in trade, commerce and political exchange.

In December, President Duterte said he would give the DFA post to Cayetano, his runningmate in the last elections, after Yasay steps down to return to the US.

Yasay is a visiting law professor at the Richardson School of Law in the University of Hawaii.

The law prohibits losing candidates from accepting government posts within one year after elections.


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