Saturday, December 12, 2015

This was excerpted from a school paper "The Beacon Reveille" of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, November-December 2015 issue.


 WHAT IS OURS IS OURS...


An article from a school paper.
By Kent Bayona

Ateneo de Zamboanga University through its Social Sciences Department and in partnership with the Philippine Information Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) held the Forum on the West Philippine [Sea] issue on November 26 at Carlos Dominguez Hall. The event was graced by career diplomat Charles Jose, who also serves as an assistant secretary and as spokesperson for DFA.

With students and faculty from about 16 private schools and colleges in attendance, Jose spoke about the bases of the Philippine government and its claims on the disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea, internationally known as South China Sea. Part of his talk also focused on the ongoing suit against China filed before the International Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague in the Netherlands.

The forum is part of a nationwide campaign to inform and rally public support on the row with the People's Republic of China. This as the Philippines continues to protest against Chinese illegal occupation of the West Philippine Sea with its overlapping Nine-Dash Line that encroaches into the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and those of other ASEAN neighbors.

During the question and answer portion, several audience quizzed Jose especially on what steps the government has pursued to preserve its maritime sovereignty over the contested areas. Some even raised concern over fishermen displaced by Chinese reclamation activities off Scarborough Shoal. For all these queries, Jose reiterated the Philippine position on the issue, "We maintain that our dispute in the West Philippine Sea is not the sum total of our relations with China. Our differences are in official policies, not socio-cultural... we should defend what is ours... What is ours is ours."

Note: This is a school paper article that is being re-articulated in this site for the sake of other readers. For citation purposes and as well as for credibility, we suggested to cite both the school paper article or its writer through the Pitzviews blog site. 

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