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Philippines reaffirms upholding rule of law, settlement of disputes

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star
Philippines reaffirms upholding rule of law, settlement of disputes
Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, speaking at a lecture of The Hague Academy of International Law (THAIL) secretary-general Jean-Marc Thouvenin in Manila, underscored the importance of peaceful settlement of disputes among the nations of the world.
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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), reaffirmed its commitment yesterday to upholding the rule of law by maintaining its active participation in international fora and organizations like the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, speaking at a lecture of The Hague Academy of International Law (THAIL) secretary-general Jean-Marc Thouvenin in Manila, underscored the importance of peaceful settlement of disputes among the nations of the world.

“As the Philippines remains fully committed to upholding the rule of law, the Department of Foreign Affairs is even more resolute in maintaining our country’s active engagement with, and representation in, international legal forums and organizations,” he said.

“With such efforts and in cooperation with partners and friends in the international community including The Hague Academy, we fulfill our duty to advance a robust and credible international legal regime that promotes and guards the flourishing of just, equitable and prosperous societies,” he added.

Manalo said the Philippines is hosting an ongoing two-week course on international law for members of the Philippine judiciary and other government agencies which is a collaboration among THAIL, the Philippine Judicial Academy and the Philippine embassy in the Netherlands.

“This manifests such commitment as it marks a new beginning in the Philippines’ cooperation with The Hague Academy,” he declared as he recalled how the first global mechanism to settle international disputes was established with the creation of the PCA 125 years ago.

He shared that in commemoration of this milestone, the Philippines, together with Australia, Egypt, Guatemala, Hungary and Thailand, worked with the PCA on a United Nations Resolution that recognized its importance in upholding the peaceful settlement of disputes, and encouraged UN member-states to make use of PCA’s services in arbitration, conciliation, mediation, commissions of inquiry and other means of peaceful settlement of disputes.

Manalo said UN Resolution 77/322 on the Commemoration of the 125th Anniversary of the PCA was adopted by consensus on Aug. 3, 2023, with the co-sponsorship of 121 UN member-states, including 26 non-contracting parties to the PCA.

“This resolution powerfully demonstrates that the peaceful settlement of disputes is a shared mission binding the community of nations. Since the founding of the PCA, international courts and tribunals have been established, addressing questions relating to human rights, law of the sea and trade and investment, among others,” he stressed.

“The decisions of these courts and tribunals form the backbone of the modern international legal system, providing clarity and, sometimes, resolutions to thorny issues and helping align state behavior with international rules and norms,” he said.

Manalo acknowledged that “this function of regulating state behavior inevitably creates tension with the concept of state sovereignty.”

“Diplomacy navigates the complex relationship between national autonomy and global governance, while recognizing and affirming the rule of law as the great equalizer in global affairs which underwrites a world order that allows nations to coexist in peace,” he said.

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