Zubiri says Bongbong Marcos ‘respects’ Senate stand on WPS
MANILA, Philippines — Senate president Juan Miguel Zubiri on Thursday said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. “respects” and is “well aware” of the Senate’s stand on the country’s ongoing dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
Zubiri made the pronouncement after the Senators on Tuesday voted unanimously, condemning China’s continued aggression in the WPS, further maintaining the national government to take appropriate action in asserting its rights over its exclusive economic zone.
“The President is well aware of the stand of the Senate on the WPS issue and respects the sense of the Senate regarding this issue,” Zubiri told reporters after a dinner with Marcos on Wednesday night.
“We reported that the resolution was discussed together with Secretary Manalo so that we’re [on] the same page with the Executive. We didn’t dwell much on that topic as we wanted to keep the dinner a cordial and casual get-together,” he added.
According to Zubiri, the dinner was “very casual and cordial,” while several topics were discussed, including the effects of flooding to Agriculture, and the WPS.
Senate minority Aquilino “Kiko” Pimental III and Risa Hontiveros were absent at the gathering.
The Philippines has been in a long-running maritime dispute with China after the latter claimed that it owns the entirety of the South China Sea, including portions of the West Philippine Sea — or the so-called nine-dash line.
The Philippines challenged China’s claim through the International Permanent Court of Arbitration (IPCA) in The Hague in 2013 and won in 2016.
China, however, has consistently refused to recognize the ruling, ignoring a series of protests and demands made by the Philippine government for Chinese vessels to leave the WPS.
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