PolSci Webinar Tackles West PH Sea Dispute

Pauline Marie C. Arada

With over 300 participants from different universities and organizations across the country, University of San Agustin’s Political Science Society hosted “Treading Charted Waters: A Conversation on the West Philippine Sea,” aired live via zoom and USA-PSS FB page, August 28.

“The webinar aims to discuss in detail the issues pertinent to the West Philippine Sea by providing insights about the global effects of the tensions in the area and explaining sovereign rights of the Philippines concerning the matter,” stated Roger Ric Amador, fourth-year AB Political Science student, former vice president internal of the USA Political Science Society.

Vice President Leni Robredo graced the discussion with her opening remarks, followed by Atty. Justice Antonio Carpio’s talk of the history of maps and official treaties determining the Philippine territory’s extent; historical truths, as he emphasized, that are relevant in the current dispute over the West Philippine Sea.

“We invited experts on the topic. Retired Justice Carpio discussed the history of how China gradually took over the West Philippine Sea, its effects on the Philippines and neighboring countries, and explained the ruling of the Arbitral Tribunal on the issue,” said Amador.

In addition, Dr. Rosalie Arcala Hall, the following resource speaker, spoke about national and foreign policy and Philippine-US military relations, stressing the Philippines’ partnerships that strengthen the country’s territorial defense potential.

“I stand against the inaction of our government to assert our sovereign rights in the WPS. It has resulted in a hard time for the fisher folk in the area, a series of harassment to passersby by the Chinese, and violations of international laws,” claimed Amador, stressing the hope for the country to select the rightful leaders with the upcoming elections to exercise sovereignty.

According to Amador, the insistence of China in the West Philippine Sea is alarming as they pose a threat to the peace of the international community, which could escalate into more complications; the military presence in the area, they threaten the livelihood of the local fishermen and the passage of vessels as they aggressively deny access.

“It is now important to pressure the Chinese government to respect the ruling of the Arbitral Tribunal to maintain peace in the region. This is because other countries are ready to take on China, whereas our government disregards our arbitral tribunal win. Thus, our win signifies our ownership of the West Philippine Sea,” opined Amador.

Furthermore, Dr. Joao Serra Pereira concluded the symposium with a lesson on the fundamental concepts, facts, and solutions from his topic’s perspective; he then proposed taking measures to gather public opinion regarding the issue. Finally, Dr. Joao Pereira discussed the possible effects of the tensions in the WPS on a global scale.

“It is important to take part in conversations that matter. This webinar aims to educate with accuracy and credibility in the topic that can gravely change our outlook in society so that we may involve ourselves in the process of development,” concluded Amador.

Published: April 25, 2022