Statement of Vice President Robredo on the 5th Anniversary of the Philippine Victory at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague

Today marks 5 years of missed opportunities regarding the West Philippine Sea.

On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague enshrined in international law the validity of our claims in the West Philippine Sea. Since then, the national leadership has yet to fully flex the ruling as an instrument to pursue our national interests, failing to invoke it in strong enough terms in the forums that matter most. Our fisherfolk remains unable to enter areas that have been the source of livelihood for generations of Filipinos. Alliances that could have been strengthened were allowed to erode, while those who bully their way into our waters have been treated with deference, and at times, subservience. The dream of a regional architecture founded on respect and mutual prosperity has become even more elusive.

The Hague ruling is now a definitive part of international law. It cannot be erased from the history books, and cannot be denied despite the unending lies spewed forth by formidable machinery of disinformation. Filing the case before the tribunal— standing up for what is right, against the economic and military might of world power— yielded the admiration and respect of the entire world. Today’s commemoration is a reminder, a challenge, and a promise: That if only we can remember, if only we can unite if only we can rediscover our spirit and once again stand for what is right— we will find, beneath the rubble of cowardice and neglect, our courage, our dignity, and our national pride. ###