law of the sea - updates

Rappler's latest stories on law of the sea


Can Duterte order PH withdrawal from UNCLOS? 'Theoretically, yes,' says DFA

Feb 20, 2020 - 4:11 PM

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon says the Philippines is party to many important treaties whose fate 'cannot be left to one man no matter how brilliant'

DUTERTE CAN. Foreign Assistant Secretary Igor Bailen of the Office of Tresties and Legal Affairs of the Deparment of Foreign Affairs says the President can terminate treaties on his own on February 20, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

UK, France, Germany ‘concerned’ over South China Sea tensions

Sep 01, 2019 - 12:48 PM

The E3 countries seek to 'underline their interest in the universal application' of the UNCLOS

MARITIME DISPUTE. A Chinese militia vessel identified by the Philippine Coast Guard during a patrol in Scarborough Shoal. File photo courtesy of the Philippine Coast Guard

Locsin hits U.S. over sea convention

Aug 22, 2019 - 3:33 PM

'If only the greatest power on earth led by the example of subscribing to UNCLOS, it would be a safer world,' says Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr

TOP DIPLOMATS. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr meets with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo at the Department of State, December 20, 2018. File photo courtesy of US State Department

High tide or low tide? The question that won us the West Philippine Sea case

Jul 14, 2019 - 11:30 AM

A simple explainer on how the Philippines won its maritime case through a keen understanding of international maritime law

BURIED REEFS. This photo shows the status of reclamation activities in Keenan (Chigua) Reef in the West Philippine Sea as of December 12, 2014. File photo obtained by Rappler

Allow China to fish in PH waters? Panelo cites UNCLOS but forgets Constitution

Jun 26, 2019 - 2:32 PM

While an international agreement cites instances when a country can allow another to fish in its waters, the Philippine Constitution forbids it

PALACE SPOKESMAN. In this file photo, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo conducts his regular briefing for Palace reporters. Photo from the Facebook page of Salvador Panelo

International laws spell out duty to rescue persons at sea

Jun 19, 2019 - 10:19 AM

This duty 'can be considered as another side of the right to life, which every individual enjoys under human rights law,' according to a 2016 paper

Q and A: Judge in PH-China case on why ruling is not 'useless'

Nov 27, 2018 - 10:30 PM

'It's in the interest also of China to be accepted as a good neighbor,' says Judge Stanislaw Pawlak, one of the 5 judges in the Philippines' case against China, on Rappler Talk

TRIBUNAL JUDGE. Stanislaw Pawlak, one of the 5 judges in the Philippines' case against China, attends a South China Sea forum in Makati City on November 23, 2018. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Rappler Talk: Judge Stanislaw Pawlak on PH case vs China

Nov 27, 2018 - 5:17 PM

Judge Stanislaw Pawlak, one of the 5 judges in the Philippines' case against China, sits down with Rappler for a rare interview about the historic Hague ruling of 2016

Del Rosario commends rare Duterte tirade vs China

Aug 17, 2018 - 2:51 PM

'We want to respectfully commend President Duterte on his recent remarks about China's aggressive and unlawful behavior in the South China Sea,' says former foreign secretary

SOUTH CHINA SEA. Former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario commends President Rodrigo Duterte for his recent remarks about China's behavior in the South China Sea. File photo by Angie De Silva/Rappler

Going to the ‘heart of Unclos’

Jul 16, 2018 - 5:35 PM

Excerpts from ‘Rock Solid: How the Philippines Won Its Maritime Case against China,’ which will be launched on Wednesday, July 18, at the Ateneo de Manila University

[OPINION] Enforce arbitral award for present, future generations

Jul 12, 2018 - 8:57 AM

Since the Duterte administration has chosen to set aside the enforcement of the Award, the task of keeping alive the Award within our country has fallen on people like you and me

[OPINION] Our President may need more help

Jun 08, 2018 - 5:24 PM

Of utmost primacy is the protection of the hard-earned gains of the Filipino people as handed down by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Arbitral Tribunal

Cayetano downplays Hague ruling, says citing UNCLOS enough

Nov 21, 2017 - 9:15 PM

'Ano ba ang arbitral award? Hindi ba UNCLOS 'yun, 1982? O, eh lahat naman ng statement may UNCLOS 1982 eh,' says Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano

ARBITRAL AWARD. Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano says it is enough to cite UNCLOS instead of the arbitral award won by the Philippines against China. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

China should pay and go

May 28, 2017 - 10:00 AM

As China and the Philippines engage in bilateral talks Manila should revisit the South China Sea arbitral award and not sleep on its rights

SLEEPING OVER PH RIGHTS? Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands before their bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing. MPC pool photo

PH can sue China for war threat – Justice Carpio

May 20, 2017 - 3:20 PM

Former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario also says China has strongly declared that it is might that will trump what is right

HITTING CHINA. Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (3rd from right) and former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario (1st) both criticize China for threatening war against the Philippines. In this photo, Carpio and del Rosario unveil the 'Mother of All Philippine Maps' during the launch of Carpio's e-book on May 4, 2017. Photo courtesy of IMOA

IN PHOTOS: The China build-up

Apr 09, 2017 - 10:30 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to occupy and build structures in Philippine territory in the South China Sea China has been building its own way before this

Duterte 'invited' China, foreign gov'ts to PH waters – Esperon

Mar 29, 2017 - 5:11 PM

What is really so harmful with having a research ship [there]? asks National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr on the presence of a Chinese survey ship in Benham Rise for 3 months

NO BREACH, NO THREAT. National Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr says President Rodrigo Duterte invited ships from foreign countries, including China, in Philippine waters for patrol and research, among others. Photo by Camille Elemia/Rappler

Lorenzana: Navy set to assist further studies on Benham Rise

Mar 24, 2017 - 12:15 PM

The Philippine Navy has acquired a research vessel from the US the BRP Gregorio Velasquez

ANTI-PIRACY PATROLS. Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana gestures during a press conference at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters in Manila on March 9, 2017. Photo by Noel Celis/ AFP

FAST FACTS: What you should know about Benham Rise

Mar 18, 2017 - 10:15 AM

The Philippines 13 million hectare territory near Aurora is considered part of the country s extended continental shelf but is not part of the PH national territory

CORAL-RICH. Researchers say Benham Bank is rich in corals. Photo courtesy of Dr Hildie Nacorda/UPLB-SESAM

Duterte shows alarming confusion over Benham Rise

Mar 14, 2017 - 11:44 AM

China s interest in Benham Rise is a problem that President Rodrigo Duterte has to address He can t afford to confuse it with the West Philippine Sea

UNDERWATER PLATEAU. Found near Aurora, the 13-million-hectare Benham Rise is part of the Philippines' continental shelf. Screenshot from a document the Philippines submitted to the UN

#ThewRap: Things you need to know, January 12, 2017

Jan 12, 2017 - 11:00 AM

Hello Here are the stories you shouldn t miss this Thursday

DFA's Yasay claims he was misquoted on ASEAN

Jul 27, 2016 - 11:15 PM

Please don t put words into my mouth Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr says denying a quote that was confirmed by reporters

TOP DIPLOMAT. Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr holds a news conference on July 27, 2016, about the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Vientiane, Laos. Photo by Mark Cristino/EPA

Cambodia: Yasay dropped bid for ASEAN to cite Hague ruling

Jul 27, 2016 - 9:40 PM

The Filipino foreign minister himself decided to remove it and not to mention the ruling Cambodia s foreign ministry spokesman says

NEIGHBORS IN ASIA. Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr (4th from left) links his hands with ASEAN foreign ministers, as well as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (2nd) during the ASEAN-China Ministerial meeting as part of the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) and related meetings in Vientiane, Laos, on July 25, 2016. Photo by Rungroj Yongrit/EPA

Yasay flip-flops on seeking ASEAN support for Hague ruling

Jul 27, 2016 - 6:42 PM

Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr says the Philippines never urged ASEAN to support it in the merits of our case against China

YASAY EXPLAINS. Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr says on July 27, 2016, that the Philippines 'never urged' ASEAN to support the Philippines 'in the merits of our case' against China. Photo by Mark Cristino/EPA

PH-China ruling, Aquino reaction, Sanders endorses Clinton| 12PM wRap

Jul 13, 2016 - 12:00 PM

Watch Rappler’s 12PM newscast with Camille Elemia

Lawmaker to Duterte: Convene LEDAC after PH-China case ruling

Jul 12, 2016 - 2:34 PM

Manalo matalo hindi po matatapos ang hidwaan sa pinag aagawang isla at karagatan says Kabayan Representative Harry Roque

ADVISE TO DUTERTE. Kabayan Representative Harry Roque holds a press conference ahead of the historic ruling on the dispute West Philippine Sea. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

PH-China case, Sanders and Clinton, Tim Duncan | 12PM wRap

Jul 12, 2016 - 12:00 PM

Watch Rappler’s 12PM newscast with David Lozada

Ruling on PH-China case: What's at stake

Jul 12, 2016 - 6:43 AM

The historic case in The Hague goes beyond the right to fish in the disputed West Philippine Sea South China Sea

'DEFEND THE SEA.' A Filipino joins a demonstration in front of the Chinese consular office in Makati City on June 10, 2016, ahead of a historic ruling on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Photo by Francis Malasig/EPA

UN sea law lays down the rules for the planet's oceans

Jul 11, 2016 - 12:55 AM

Take a look at key facts on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea UNCLOS

epa05165512 (FILE) A file picture dated 20 July 2011 and taken through the window of a closed aircraft, shows an aerial view of Pagasa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea, located off the coast of western Philippines. China has deployed two batteries of sophisticated surface-to-air missile launchers to a disputed island in the South China Sea, news reports said on 17 February 2016. Satellite imagery from ImageSat International showed two batteries of eight missile launchers on Woody Island, part of the contested Paracel Islands, media reported. A US official confirmed that the imagery showed the HQ-9 air defense system, which has a range of around 200km, the report said. The report came as US President Barack Obama met with South-East Asian leaders in California, where they called for 'maritime security' and urged 'non-militarization and self-restraint' by countries in the region. Beijing claims nearly all of the South China Sea, including small islands that are hundreds of kilometers from its southern coast. Four countries in South-East Asia have unresolved territorial disputes with China over the South China Sea, which has important shipping lanes and potential oil and other natural resources. EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA/POOL

Beijing holds South China Sea war games before ruling

Jul 09, 2016 - 3:36 PM

The military drills come as the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is set to make its final decision on Tuesday in the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China

This photo taken on May 10, 2016 shows crew members of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a logistics supply drill near the James Shoal area on South China Sea.  Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the whole of the South China Sea, on the basis of a segmented line that first appeared on Chinese maps in the 1940s, pitting it against several neighbours. / AFP PHOTO / STR / China OUT / TO GO WITH AFP STORY CHINA-POLITICS-MARITIME-DIPLOMACY BY BEN DOOLEY

Duterte on PH-China row: 'War is a dirty word'

Jul 05, 2016 - 5:33 PM

Chinese President Xi Jinping for his part says days before the ruling on the South China Sea dispute ‘We are not afraid of trouble’

PRESIDENT'S SALUTE. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte salutes during a visit to the Armed Forces of the Philippines on July 1, 2016. Photo by Francis Malasig/EPA

Rappler Talk: Surprises from the Benham expedition

Jun 23, 2016 - 3:31 PM

Watch Rappler s interview with marine scientist Marianne Pan Saniano here live

ASEAN ministers express 'serious concerns' over South China Sea

Jun 14, 2016 - 8:10 PM

In a rare diplomatic slap in the face for Beijing – issued on its own territory – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN offers a sharp rebuke over China s actions in the waterway

FUELING CONCERN. New images released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies – such as this photo of Cuarteron Reef – show the extent of China's reclamation activities in the South China Sea. Photo courtesy of CSIS

Latest Benham Rise expedition reveals vast coral ecosystem

Jun 07, 2016 - 3:29 PM

Collectively among the decades of experience studying the ocean that we have aboard the ship no one has ever seen reefs like this says Margot Stiles of Oceana Philippines

'VAST AND PRISTINE'. Marine scientists head to Benham Rise for a week-long expedition. All photos from Oceana Philippines

World's nations gather to rescue ocean life

Mar 27, 2016 - 12:02 PM

There is no international treaty protecting marine areas beyond national jurisdiction

US presses Xi on South China Sea non-militarization

Feb 27, 2016 - 11:36 AM

We re going to encourage our Chinese friends and other countries in the region to refrain from taking steps that raise tensions says National Security Council s Daniel Kritenbrink

SOUTH CHINA SEA. In this file photo, US President Barack Obama (R) and President of China Xi Jinping (L) participate in a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, September 25, 2015. Photo by Erik S. Lesser/EPA

PH asserts rights over claim as China deploys missile in disputed sea

Feb 17, 2016 - 7:09 PM

We are also witnessing very aggressive actions by our big neighbor the world’s second largest economy and a nuclear power at that President Aquino says at a forum in Los Angeles

WORLD AFFAIRS. President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council at the Grand Ballroom of the Intercontinental Hotel on February 16, 2016. Photo by Joseph Vidal/ Malacañang Photo Bureau

US warship sailed in waters off island claimed by China – Pentagon

Jan 30, 2016 - 9:52 PM

The Pentagon says the freedom of navigation operation was carried out to challenge excessive maritime claims of parties that claim the Paracel Islands

Philippines: China to build ‘Berlin Wall of the Sea’

Dec 01, 2015 - 12:44 PM

Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario tells a UN backed tribunal: ’What is ours is ours not China’s’

‘GIANT SLAYER.’ The Philippines’ lead counsel against China, Paul Reichler, argues before an arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands. Photo courtesy of PCA

PH vs China: Why a win for Manila benefits the region

Nov 28, 2015 - 12:07 PM

Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal says a ruling striking down China s 9 dash line will be a victory not just for the Philippines but also for other claimant countries

GLOBAL INTEREST. Seven countries send observers to the arbitral tribunal hearings at The Hague on the Philippines' historic case against China. File photo from the Permanent Court of Arbitration

Lawyer Estelito Mendoza: Is PH case vs China 'worth it?'

Nov 27, 2015 - 9:17 PM

Estelito Mendoza says of the Philippine case: I do not believe in filing cases just to gain a reputation I believe only in filing a case if it will bring relief to my client

BRINGING RELIEF? Veteran trial lawyer Estelito Mendoza (right) questions whether the Philippine arbitration case against China will work to Manila's favor if Beijing defies the final ruling. Photo by Ayee Macaraig/Rappler

PH vs China: Round 2 in The Hague set Nov 24-30

Nov 10, 2015 - 10:52 PM

The Philippines aims to demolish – once and for all – China’s expansive claim over the West Philippine Sea South China Sea

TEAM PHILIPPINES. A powerhouse team represented the Philippines in The Hague, Netherlands, during the first set of hearings on Manila's case against Beijing from July 7 to 13, 2015. The Philippine delegation is set to return to The Hague from November 24 to 30, 2015, to argue the merits of the Philippines' case. Photo courtesy of PCA

Carpio: 'Tribunal totally ignored China's 9-dash line'

Nov 05, 2015 - 9:06 PM

The Supreme Court justice says the UN backed tribunal did not consider the 9 dash line which China uses to claim almost the entire South China Sea

'NO EFFECT.' Philippine Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio says China's 9-dash line has no effect on the tribunal's initial ruling on Manila's South China Sea case. Photo by Ayee Macaraig/Rappler

Breaking down the Philippines’ legal victory in the West Philippine Sea

Nov 01, 2015 - 10:17 AM

By unanimously voting in favor of exercising jurisdiction on the Philippines’ case the Arbitral Tribunal effectively rejected Beijing’s efforts to sabotage Manila’s laudable legal effort

FIRST VICTORY. File photo of a hearing at the Hague in session

Aquino and the West Philippine Sea: Realpolitk vs. Moralpolitk?

Aug 16, 2015 - 3:30 PM

The Aquino administration’s injection of morality into foreign policy discourse has managed to mobilize the Southeast Asian country against a tough neighbor

SUBJECT OF PROTESTS. A photo obtained by Rappler shows the status of reclamation activities in Keenan (Chigua) Reef in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as of December 12, 2014.

5 years of Aquino: Highs and lows

Jul 28, 2015 - 6:05 PM

Rappler looks back at the most criticized and most applauded statements and actions of President Aquino

LAST SONA. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III smiles during a signing ceremony between Philippine's Department of Trade (DTI) and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) on business promotion cooperation in Tokyo, Japan, June 2, 2015. File photo by Franck Robichon/EPA

IN PHOTOS: Philippines challenges China in The Hague

Jul 22, 2015 - 3:21 PM

In photos emailed to Rappler the Permanent Court of Arbitration gives us a glimpse of the closed door hearings pitting Manila against Beijing

SILENT WITNESS. The venue of the arbitration proceedings is the 100-year-old Peace Palace in The Hague, which also houses the International Court of Justice. Photo courtesy of PCA

Binay hits Philippine team vs China in The Hague

Jul 18, 2015 - 8:31 PM

Vice President Jejomar Binay is pushing for bilateral talks between Manila and Beijing because according to him the Philippines needs China s money

TEAM PHILIPPINES. The Philippine team at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, before the start of the oral arguments in connection with the arbitration case against China. The country's delegation includes Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Secretary Ronald Llamas, Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte Jr, Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa Jr, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Benjamin Caguioa, Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Menardo Guevarra, Consul General Henry Bensurto, and legal counsels led by Paul Reichler of FoleyHoag. Photo courtesy of DFA

Vietnam, PH most concerned about China disputes

Jul 17, 2015 - 3:35 PM

The Pew Research Center however says there is little concern worldwide about territorial disputes with China

UNITED FRONT. A Vietnamese child peers from Vietnam and Philippines flags while waiting for the arrival of Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City, Philippines, on May 21, 2014. Photo by Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA

PH to re-open Subic Bay base amid China sea row

Jul 17, 2015 - 1:04 AM

The announcement to re open the former US naval base comes as the Philippines is embroiled in a bitter dispute with China over rival claims to parts of the sea

SUBIC PORT. The Port of Subic is one of the top performing ports in the Philippines in terms of revenue collections. A former US Navy Base the port is being groomed as an alternative port to the congested Manila harbor. Photo couresy of US Navy