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Opposition lawmakers call for inclusion of South China Sea arbitration in Constitution

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By Ben Rosario

Opposition lawmakers on Tuesday called for the inclusion of the South China Sea arbitration in the constitutional provision that defines the national territory.

MB FILE—Photographed through the window of a closed aircraft, an aerial view shows Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines on July 20, 2011. (EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA/POOL / MANILA BULLETIN)

Photographed through the window of a closed aircraft, an aerial view shows Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines on July 20, 2011. (EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA/POOL / MANILA BULLETIN file photo)

Asst. Minority Leaders Alfredo Garbin (Ako Bicol Partylist0 and Eugene De Vera (ABS Partylist) said the international Arbitral Tribunal’s decision on the claims made by the Philippines and China over South China sea territories should be adopted in the Constitution to further strengthen the country’s stand on the issues.

The tribunal, Garbin said, has upheld the Philippines claim over the Benham Rise, now called the Philippine Rise.

“Philippines having sovereign rights over the Philippine Rise should be stated clearly in the Constitution,” said Garbin.

“We have to tell the whole world that the Arbitral Tribunal is supporting the Philippines stand on this,” he added.

De Vera said the Lower House, which has led efforts to amend the 1987 Constitution, can still include in territorial definition what the IA has ruled.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte had aired plans to visit the Philippine Rise to dramatize the country;’s assertion of its sovereign rights over it.

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