MANILA, June 16, 2011â€” A Catholic bishop has backed the Philippine governmentâ€™s plan to file a diplomatic protest against China before the United Nations as tension over the disputed Spratly Islands continues.
Palawan Bishop Pedro Arigo said that going to the UN would be helpful in resolving the long-standing territorial conflict.
â€œAs soon as possible they should file the protest in the apt UN panel that could rightfully resolve this matter,â€ Arigo said.
The Aquino administration has said it is filing a diplomatic protest against China before the UN over the alleged incursion of the Chinese government in Philippine waters in the past several weeks.
Arigo earlier called on countries claiming the Spratly islands, a reputedly oil-rich chain of tiny islands and reefs in the South China Sea, to stop â€œwar of wordsâ€ and start talks over the issue.
The bishop said that resorting also to the legal route would be better than engaging in a vicious word-war with China.
On Wednesday, the tension escalated after the Philippine Navy dismantled a marker, allegedly placed by China, at a reef in Spratlys, which is approximately 125 nautical miles from the shoreline of Palawan.
And once the case reaches the UN, Arigo believes the Philippines has a strong claim to the disputed islands.
â€œOnce the evidences are presented, I strongly believe that we have a strong fight and eventually it will be given to us by the UN,â€ said Arigo citing the proximity of the Spratlys to the Philippines compared to China.
The government has long been referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as the basic principle that should be used in defining territory and maritime entitlements. [CBCPNews]