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Peaceful negotiations

THE United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) based in the Netherland has finally ruled that China’s claim to the Spratlys in the West Philippine Sea has no legal basis and the contested islands are well within the Philippines’ maritime economic zone. It’s a historic victory for us.

China, however, declared the PCA ruling “is null and void and has no binding force” despite its being a signatory to the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on which the decision was based.

Ill-prepared as we are to confront China’s belligerence, President Duterte has hinted we may engaged the Chinese in bilateral reconciliatory talks since we now stand on solid grounds. Foreign Affairs Secretary Jun Yasay echoed this line. For certain astute diplomacy will help resolve this conflict even as we reserve the option to secure a more enforceable ruling from the UN General Assembly.

Aside from former DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario, Supreme Court Justices Antonio Carpio and Hardeliza deserve credited for their valuable contribution in achieving the historic PCA ruling.

Should we eventually possess the Spratlys, both the Aquino and Duterte administrations should be credited for it.

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Zambales fishermen, denied their fishing rights in the Scarborough waters by China’s military, together with Gov. Amor Deloso and Rep. Cheryl Deloso are extremely happy over these developments.

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USAID recently held at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila its 2016 International Conference on Urban Development:

Accelerating Resilience and Inclusive Growth, participated in by over 1,200 local sectoral leaders and global experts, including representatives from USA, Britain, the Netherlands, India and Mexico.

David Grossman, USAID’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) project chief, said their conference partners include the World Bank, UN-Habitat, National Competitiveness Council and DILG.

Albay Congressman Joey Salceda, a noted economist and pioneer in disaster resilience, was plenary speaker on the “Challenges of urbanization.” He related his experiences on how Albay built its resilience to calamities caused by climate change that saw his province rose from prostration and its principal communities now surging to urbanization under its Green Economy program.

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NOTES: Drug lords, pushers, and users must be pursued relentlessly, but due process and the rule of law must be observed.

PNP said Aklan ranks second in criminality. This carries serious implications since premier tourist destination Boracay is in Aklan. (Johnny Dayang)