Marcos to invoke 2016 PCA ruling to assert territorial rights

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MANILA – President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Thursday said he would protect the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its maritime domain and uphold the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration's (PCA) 2016 ruling invalidating most of China’s South China Sea (SCS) claims.

In an interview with select media, Marcos said his administration would assert the country's territorial rights by upholding the Philippines’ claim in the West Philippine Sea.

"We have a very important ruling in our favor and we will use it to continue to assert our territorial rights. It is not a claim. It is already our territorial right," he said.

He further added that he would defend the Philippines' sovereignty and "not compromise it in any way."

"We will not allow a single square, and maybe make it even more smaller, single square millimeter of our maritime coastal and up to 200 kilometers rights to be trampled upon," he said.

He said his government will talk to China "with a firm voice" regarding the matter.

He, however, stressed that the Philippines would not go to war with China, adding that it is "the last thing we need right now".

The PCA in the Hague, Netherlands on July 12, 2016 ruled in favor of the Philippines' petition against Beijing’s supposedly historic rights over almost the entire SCS.

China has repeatedly ignored the SCS ruling, while the Philippines has maintained its stance to resolve the sea disputes through peaceful and diplomatic negotiations.

Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated that the Philippines seeks peaceful settlement of disputes in the strategic waterway.

"A rules-based order is the lynchpin of regional peace and stability. The peaceful resolution of disputes is a necessary and indispensable pillar of any order anchored on the majesty of the law," he said. (PNA)