Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, today called for a peaceful resolution of the recent incident within the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) involving Philippine and Chinese vessels.
"The reported incident, including the alleged on-going stand-off between Philippine Navy vessels and Chinese Maritime vessels, undermines peace and security in the region. The situation calls for greater calm among the parties involved and live up to the principles espoused in the Code of Conduct," Legarda stressed.
The Senator explained that the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) engages state parties to undertake peaceful means in resolving territorial and jurisdictional disputes and avoid threats or use of force.
"The countries concerned committed themselves to ensuring peace and stability in the region and the incident certainly does not illustrate the countries' commitment to peace and security," she said.
"The Philippines has clear rights over the area and we have submitted the dispute for resolution through the multilateral arena. We need to draw China into that process where the rule of international law will be observed and honored by parties concerned," Legarda emphasized.
Based on reports from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), on April 8, the Philippine Navy monitored eight Chinese fishing vessels in the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, an area within the Philippines' 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf.
The Philippine ship BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) did continuous monitoring and inspection to gather evidence, but was prevented from apprehending the Chinese fishermen when two Chinese maritime ships placed themselves between the PF-15 and the Chinese fishing vessels.