Involve Asean in West PH Sea issue – Tolentino

November 5 2015 9:17 PM

Francis TolentinoSenatorial  aspirant Francis Tolentino cited on Thursday, November 5, the importance of a multilateral approach in resolving the lingering issue on the West Philippine Sea.

Tolentino, who has a master’s degree on Public International Law, cited the significance of involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), apart from the Philippines and China, in resolving overlapping claims  over islands on the West Philippine Sea.

“There should be a plus-plus multilateral approach given the existing geopolitics here in the Asean. It should be China plus the Asean,” said Tolentino, a disaster preparedness advocate, who earned his degree from the University of London.

Tolentino’s statement came after an international tribunal decision in having the jurisdiction to hear the case brought by the country over disputed islands on the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines filed a case before the Arbitration Court in the Hague questioning the claim of nine-dashed line by China which reportedly encroaches on 80 percent of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on the West Philippine Sea.

The former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman insisted that the issue of West Philippine Sea should be discussed by candidates for the 2016 elections.

“I can add substance to raging debate concerning the West Philippine Sea. Modesty aside, ang Master’s Degree ko ay Public International Law,” said Tolentino, who is aspiring for a senatorial seat next year.

He cited an example of multilateral approach which was in the case of European Union. “Yung nangyari dati sa Europe, yung pag-aagawan nila ng resources ng steel at coal, nagawa na po yun. Six European countries nagkaroon ng European Community of Steel and Coal, ” said Tolentino.

“The European coal and steel community” model could even serve as a long term solution for Asean participation given the area’s vast energy resources “wherein a regional maritime governance policy could evolve given the current geo-political setting,” Tolentino said.

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