Source: http://www.qatar-tribune.com/news-details/id/12829 (Qatar Tribune 13/06/2016)
“FAIR and a just verdict,” is how a majority of Filipinos in Qatar described the victory of the Philippines in its arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea (in the South China Sea).
On Tuesday, the community in Doha joined Filipinos from across the globe in airing on social media their appreciation of the historic decision handed over by the United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague. The said case was filed by the Philippines in January 2013.
“I would like to congratulate all global Filipinos, particularly the overseas Filipino leaders who never got weary of voicing our rights and claims to the West Philippine Sea. This is the first time a legal case over a territorial dispute was lodged against China. It illustrates a peaceful process that other countries with territorial disputes with the country can follow. I would also like to commend former Philippines President Benigno Aquino III for pushing through this case,” said Fidel Escurel, community leader and regional chairperson of the National Youth Movement for the West Philippine Sea in the Middle East and Africa.
Loi Olivar of the regional group Cavitenos sa Qatar termed the decision as”a celebration of Filipinos’ dignity” and added,”The decision brought tears to the eyes of many Filipinos. It has been three long years and we finally succeeded. My salute goes to the Philippines government for its courage in fighting for what is rightfully ours which is the West Philippine Sea. Our victory is likened to the victory of David against Goliath. As a Filipino citizen, I am overjoyed by this turn of events. Congratulations, Philippines!”
Randy Frogosa of the United Filipino Organizations in Qatar (UFOQ) said the maritime case is a classic demonstration of how a small country like the Philippines stood up against a powerful one like China.”The ruling only proves that fair rule of law prevails in the UN and the size of a country does not matter when it comes to delivering justice. The decision gives so much pride to all of us Filipinos,” he added.
Human rights advocate Ressie Fos, who is looking forward to the next steps after the ruling, said,”I consider the ruling of UN Arbitral Tribunal on West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute in favour of the Philippines as a milestone which confirms our country’s sovereign right over the disputed seas and riches beneath. My only doubt is if China will submit to that ruling. For, if it doesn’t, it would pose another big challenge for our government.”
Community leader Charles Uy, born of Filipino mother and Chinese father, stressed the need for Filipinos to unite and refrain from patronising made in China products. Uy, through his social media account, has been advocating boycott of Chinese products since long.”My loyalty is with the Philippines where I grew up. After this ruling we must continue to take a united and a brave stand. We should learn how to value this victory,” he said.