MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – The previous government of Noynoy Aquino has called the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the Philippines’ territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea a “victory,” but the Rodrigo Duterte government calls it a “futile award.”
Duterte recently announced that at his next meeting with Xi Jinping, he will bring up the arbitration issue with the Chinese President. But what he didn’t say is that he will give up the Philippines’ claims over some of the disputed territories.
In an exclusive interview with The Adobo Chronicles, Duterte said the PCA in its ruling has described certain maritime features claimed by both China and the Philippines as rocks, not islands.
The Philippine arbitration panel itself argued that some of these features are indeed rocks incapable of sustaining human habitation or economic life of their own. These include Scarborough Shoal, Johnson Reef, Carterton Reef and Fiery Cross Reef, as well as Itu Aba, the biggest natural island in the Spratlys, occupied by Taiwan.