The Philippine government through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) conducted a multi-sectoral advocacy campaign regarding West Philippine Sea dispute in the Bicol Region from October 7 to 9. DFA’s Assistant Secretary Charles Jose held lectures and briefings in cities of Legazpi and Sorsogon, during the said dates, aiming to engage different audiences throughout the region and raise their level of awareness regarding an international issue that has grave implications on the country’s vital interests such as sovereignty, security, and preservation of the marine environment and resources.
“This is our story on the West Philippine Sea maritime dispute. The Philippines has legitimate rights on the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea enshrined in international law. However, China is claiming what is ours. For this reason, we should defend what is rightfully ours,” Jose said in one of the engagements.
Assistant Secretary Jose also emphasized that the result of the arbitration case will serve as an important step in the peaceful and durable resolution to the maritime dispute. “We want a regional order that is based on the rule of law,” he said.
Since the campaign’s launch in 2015, DFA and PIA already held forums in Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro City, Subic, Olongapo, Laoag City, Vigan City, Puerto Princesa City and Tuguegarao City, Dumaguete City, Iloilo City and Davao City. The next multi-sectoral advocacy campaign will be held in General Santos City.
The DFA and PIA will continue to hold multi-sectoral forums on the West Philippine Sea issue in other major regions throughout the country.