On this day, we commemorate the Arbitral Tribunal ruling that unequivocally upheld our country’s rights and claims over certain areas in the West Philippine Sea, while rejecting China’s expansive maritime claims. It was not only a victory for the Philippines but also a triumph for international law and the principle of sovereignty.
Seven years have passed since that historic ruling, yet we continue to face challenges and threats to regional stability, maritime security, and freedom of navigation. As a nation, we must persist in asserting our claims and defending our interests in accordance with international law.
The support we receive from the international community is a testament to our shared commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring freedom of navigation. It reinforces our resolve to protect the Philippines’ territorial and sovereign rights.
We must continue to assert our claims and defend our rights with utmost diplomacy. Let us remember the sacrifices of our fishermen, who rely on the bounties of the sea for their livelihoods, as well as the brave men and women in the uniformed service who patrol our waters in the West Philippine Sea. It is our duty to protect them and ensure their safety. We owe it to them and to future generations to remain steadfast in working towards a future where disputes are resolved peacefully, maritime resources are protected, and the rights of all nations are respected.