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‘Philippines should engage in joint patrols in WPS’

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
�Philippines should engage in joint patrols in WPS�
“The dwindling energy resources of our country make it imperative for us to explore and develop our resources in the West Philippine Sea for the sake of the Filipino people,” former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario said in a statement.
Philstar.com / File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines should engage in joint patrols to protect its right to explore and utilize energy resources in the West Philippine Sea, former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario said yesterday.

“The dwindling energy resources of our country make it imperative for us to explore and develop our resources in the West Philippine Sea for the sake of the Filipino people,” Del Rosario said in a statement.

The 2016 Arbitral Award ruled that the sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea exclusively belong to the Philippines.

Del Rosario explained that the Philippines has the exclusive right under international law to explore the West Philippine Sea for possible energy resources and, eventually, to utilize such resources for the benefit of the Filipino people – a right guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the 2016 Arbitral Award and the Philippine Constitution.

No other country has the right to explore and exploit the resources of the West Philippine Sea, according to the former foreign affairs chief.

“In the context of China’s unlawful claims in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines can lawfully and should engage in joint patrols with its allies, like the United States, Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom so that the Philippines can protect its right to explore, develop and utilize the resources of the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

“Given Chinese aggressions, the successful development and utilization of energy resources in the West Philippine Sea would be a remarkable legacy of the President of our country,” he added.

US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson said the US is pleased that the Philippines is ready for joint patrols.

Carlson noted that the US has similar activities with those of other allies, and the joint patrol with the Philippines will be one important component to ensure that waterways are free and open.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippine government is crafting guidelines on joint patrols in the West Philippine Sea.

Operational details, including the possibility of engaging other countries, will be part of discussions between the Philippines and the US within the framework of the Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board.

The Philippines is in talks to possibly include Australia and Japan in the planned West Philippine Sea patrols with the US.

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WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

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