• Palace welcomes Joma’s ‘pro-govt’ stand on sea disputes

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    Malacañang on Sunday welcomed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison’s “pro-government” stance on the sea disputes with China, saying it bodes well especially for the pursuit of peace between the government and local communists.

    “All expressions of support from within and outside the country are gladly accepted. We hope that all sectors of society and all our countrymen will back up our country’s position on this,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

    On Friday, Sison aired support for the filing of a memorial last week against China before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) that questions the mainland’s nine-dash line territorial claims over shoals and islets in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

    Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), said it was better for Manila to make a strong case before the ITLOS than ignore China’s bullying.

    “In the first place, filing the case before ITLOS and the Arbitral Tribunal is not a violent act at all, no matter how China presents it as a hostile act. Had the Philippines desisted from filing the case, China would have certainly used the desistance as proof of a lack of conviction and interest in the case,” Sison said.

    Last March 30, the government a “memorial” before the United Nations which questions China’s nine-dash line territorial rule that encroached islets and shoals in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

    The memorandum or “memorial,” in the language of international law, contains all pertinent legal bases and other arguments on the position of the Philippines regarding its territories.

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, in a statement, said the memorial conforms with the Rules of Procedure adopted by the five-member Arbitral Tribunal last August, which established March 30, 2014, as the due date for its submission.

    JOEL M. SY EGCO

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