• Diplomacy best bet in West PH Sea issue – Roque


    Incoming Kabayan party-list Representative Harry L. Roque on Thursday said diplomacy is the country’s best bet for a positive outcome in the West Philippine Sea issue as he expressed relief that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has a concrete policy concerning the territorial dispute.

    “I agree that diplomacy must be resorted to again,” Roque said.

    He added the “pendency of arbitration should not have precluded diplomacy in the first place.”

    “Just like any case pending in court, the arbitration should have led to intensified diplomacy to arrive at an out of court settlement,” Roque said.

    A recognized expert on international law, Roque served as the director of the University of the Philippines Law Center’s Institute of International Legal Studies for the past 15 years.

    He is also a seasoned international litigator and sits on the board of the Asian Society of International Law and the International Criminal Bar.

    Duterte earlier met with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhu in Davao.

    According to the Chinese ambassador, the incoming president expressed willingness to improve ties and increase bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and China.

    Duterte previously maintained that the Scarborough Shoal, one of the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea, “belongs to our exclusive economic zone.”


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    1. If the Philippines will undertake new “diplomacy”, as suggested by Atty H. Rocque, this territorial dispute with China will never be resolved, and will just go on and on and on…. like the Energizer Bunny. Meanwhile, China will be building more structures to strengthen its claim and presence in the disputed place. As they say, “possession is nine-tenths of the law”. Ultimately the Philippines will end up with nothing, but Rocque and Duterte will probably be happy and contented that they have exercised “diplomacy”. Given the current status of the issue, this prospective result is not what the Filipino people want and expect.

      Thank goodness that Atty Rocque has not been appointed Chief or Secretary of Foreign Affairs. As a congressman, Atty Rocque cannot conduct or dictate foreign policy. This is the job of the executive branch (implemented through the Department of Foreign Affairs). I hope there are enough intelligent and practically-minded people in the Department who are in touch or are aware of the feelings of the people concerning this matter. Filipinos do not want to revisit the Philippine West Sea dispute on grounds of “new diplomacy” by Duterte’s team, or in exchange for a fast speed railway or train to be built in the Philippines by China. Let us just wait for the UNCLOS decision! Why re-invent the wheel or start all over again?

    2. Depsite the claim of of 15-yrs experience as lawyer,Harry Roque still a novice in this profession.Layman understand the logic and risk of arbitration.The benefit outweight the risk as there will be determination of what is ours and is not and the move on to the next steps.The current generation has to fix this problem and dont pass it to the next generation.Dont beleive inwhat this people say,the current approach provide a lasting if not eternal solution to this issue in a peaceful manner.Roque should know that this is just a first step.Even if we get 50% of our claims it istill better than living in the limbo like most of our tongressman and bobong lawyer kagaya ni Harry Roque.Bobo talaga yung mga lawyer na yan, buti na lang si Paul Riecher yung kinuha ng Pnoy govt.

    3. This is the biggest blunder Mayor Duterte will ever commit. It’s like taming the serpent. China has already built the artificial Island against the previous agreement that all nations involve on the claim should maintain the status quo in which peaceful discussion should prevail. Now, what did China did? They unilaterally claim the whole area irregardless of what the other nations concern. So what is there to talk about. Nothing. We should respect the effort of the UNCLOS to resolve the rightful owner, why disregard it now? It’s a blatant disrespect to the effort of the United Nation to be the arbiter. Duterte should know this. Once he violates the effort of UNCLOS, there is no more turning back. Sayang.

    4. Roque should be ignored by Duterte for any considerations that this corrupt lawyer is asking for. Looks like he/she is one among those patiently for hours waiting for a chance to meet Duterte for a juicy position. Roque has just that qualifications of a big mouth (and makes no sense of what he/she is saying) and arrogant pretending to be smart because he is a graduate of U.P.