MANILA, Philippines — Faculty members of the University of the Philippines' College of Law have called on President Rodrigo Duterte to take back his controversial remarks on the West Philippine Sea, marking the second time he was urged to do so.
Nearly a hundred signatories objected to the president calling the arbitral win in 2016 as a "mere piece of paper," and in saying that Beijing is in possession of the country's waters.
"When a President speaks on a matter of foreign policy, the world listens," the statement on May 30 read. "President Duterte’s statements trivialize the Arbitral Award, contradict the country’s own legal position, and effectively waive rights already won."
The UP College of Law Faculty issues a statement objecting to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s dismissive remarks on the 2016 West Philippine Sea Arbitral Award. Read the entire faculty statement below or via https://t.co/LatBaLcN0e#UPCollegeofLaw#UPCollegeofLawFacultypic.twitter.com/DdOXaZ4Sfz
— UP College of Law (@UPCollegeofLaw) May 30, 2021
China has practically ignored the said ruling which invalidated its nine-dash line claim in the waters. Tensions between the two countries have continued in recent months, but the President has so far only hit back at his critics.
UP law faculty said his comments only achieve nothing amid the continued Chinese incursions, and instead encourage further disregard of the rule of law.
They added: "The statements of the President betray the interests of the country he swore to protect."
Among those who signed were: Dean Edgardo Vistan II, Lyceum Law Dean Ma. Soledad Deriquito-Mawis, former UP law dean Pacifico Agabin, maritime expert Jay Batongbacal, Prof. Tony La Viña, and ex-Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te.
"We urgently call on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to immediately retract his statements and recall his duty to act in the best interest of the Philippines and the Filipino people," educators added.
This is already the second time that Duterte was called on to make the move.
Early this month, alumni of San Beda University urged for the same, and sought for a better stand from their fellow alumnus on the issue.
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