Released May 11, 2012
The Pipol Power Institute, a non-profit organization committed to the realization of People Power ideals and values in Philippine national life and in the international arena, believes that the Philippines has every right to protect and assert its sovereignty in light of the Chinese government’s aggressive acts at Scarborough Shoal.
The Philippines is a sovereign nation, standing at par with other sovereign states in the international community, with a duty to protect its citizens and its territories against unlawful aggression or subversion by other sovereign states.
However, we believe, first and foremost, that military action is NOT the solution to the impasse with China. We support President Benigno Aquino III’s call for sobriety and for the full use of diplomatic and peaceful means in order to resolve the Scarborough Shoal standoff. We reiterate Article II Section 2 of the Philippine Constitution, which states, “The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.”
We recognize that the people of the Philippines and the people of China have had centuries of peaceful relations relating to trade, commerce, and culture, among others. The Philippines has, in fact, accepted many of China’s people as part of the Philippine national fabric, welcoming many Chinese-born individuals as Filipino citizens. We recognize that, at present, the people of China are the fourth-largest contributors to Philippine tourism and are likewise major contributors to the Philippine economy. Many of our eminent leaders and movers are of Chinese descent. Hence, the inextricable link between our shared histories is undeniable.
However, we wish to oppose—without prejudice to the people of China—the policy of aggression being carried out by its government against Philippine territory. We reiterate the position that Chinese encroachments to the Scarborough Shoal, which is within the 200 nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines, are grave violations of international law and to the sovereignty of the Philippines. We call on the government of the People’s Republic of China to respect Philippine sovereignty—just as much as the Philippine government respects theirs—and to cease and desist from practicing aggressive acts on our territorial waters.
In light of this, we likewise support the Department of Foreign Affairs’ plan to bring this dispute, with or without Chinese support, to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. We believe that a diplomatic and/or legal remedy is the best path our country can take. Escalation of hostilities is definitely not an option.
Amid all these, we also recognize and welcome the support of the international community for our humble but sovereign nation, but we also wish to raise the position that we, the Filipino people, are neither beggars nor slaves. While this support is greatly appreciated, we wish to reiterate that the Philippines is a sovereign nation—we will not be subservient to any other foreign power seeking to override Philippine national interest under the guise of international support.
Thus, we call on our Executive and Legislative branches to protect, first and foremost, the interests of the people of the Philippines in resolving the issues at Scarborough Shoal. We urge our diplomats and policymakers to find the most peaceful means to address all parties’ concerns without subverting Philippine sovereignty to any other economic power. We call on our public sector leaders to determine the appropriate policy and conduct of the nation toward this issue, and to determine, most importantly, how such policy and conduct will advance our right as a sovereign nation, as well as our own political and economic interests.
Lastly, we wish to call on our fellow Filipino citizens to refrain from engaging in any warmongering and hate tactics against the people of China, or even against its institutions and entities. Such tactics will not resolve the issue and will only serve to escalate hostilities between our nations. It is, however, the duty of every Filipino, including those that have already sacrificed their lives to defend what is truly ours and to command the respect of the world, to protect our sovereignty even if this requires the supreme sacrifice of our lives.
Ultimately, we believe that diplomacy and peace will prevail, and we enjoin all our fellow Filipinos to actively support and push for a policy of peace in relating to our fellow sovereign nations.
Jim Paredes, Chairman
Garth Noel Tolentino, President
Marian Pastor-Roces, Trustee