Beng urges Filipinos to unite to protect territory PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 29 November 2015 14:34

“We, Filipinos, must unite…to protect the integrity of our country’s territory.”

This was the message of Mayor Isabelle Climaco-Salazar as read by Councilor Roel Natividad before the participants to the multi-sectoral forum on the West Philippine Sea issue held at the Garden Orchid Hotel here yesterday.

“We cannot allow other countries to bully us into submission, into giving up what is rightfully, legally and historically ours,” the mayor said.

Local government officials, teachers, students, religious and civic leaders from the different parts of the region came to attend the said forum jointly organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, DFA spokesman, who served as the forum resource person told the participants that “China is claiming what belongs to the Philippines and that the latter is defending what rightfully belongs to it.”

According to Jose, the Philippine government is adopting a dual approach to resolve the dispute - diplomatic track and legal track. The diplomatic track involves peaceful settlement of disputes while the legal track pursues the primacy of the rule of law.

A case had been filed by the Philippine government before the tribunal of the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS) in January 2013.

He, however, said: “Our dispute in the West Philippine Sea is not the sum total of our relations with China.”

At the end of the forum, the participants recommended that the DFA and PIA go grassroots in their information campaign on China’s overlapping claims over the West Philippine Sea. (FPG/PIA9)