PH May Present Amended Treaty To Support Its Case Vs China

CHICAGO (JGL) – A little-known Washington Treaty of 1900 that amends the 1898 Treaty of Paris could be one of the documents that may be presented by the Philippine government when the hearing on the merits of the case before the arbitral tribunal of the United Nations in the Hague starts on Nov. 23, 2015.

This was disclosed here Friday (Oct. 30) by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. during the 12th Pagkikita sa Konsulado at the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, Illinois initiated by Consul General Generoso D.G. Calonge.

The Washington Treaty of 1900 included the Scarborough Shoals as part of the Philippines after it was discovered that the map of the Treaty of Paris of 1898 left out the Scarborough Shoal.

The Treaty of Paris of Dec. 10, 1898 ceded the whole Philippines from the Spain to the United States after a payment of $20-M, making the Philippines a territory of the U.S. following the defeat of Spain from the U.S. and Philippine Independence fighters, notably the Katipuneros. The U.S. later granted the Philippine Commonwealth  its independence on July 4, 1946.

Last Thursday, the arbitral tribunal gave due course to the petition of the Philippines to assume jurisdiction of the case even after China has refused to take part in the maritime dispute, contending that China’s massive territorial claims in the mineral-rich waters do not conform with the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea where both the Philippines and China are signatories.

“The decision was unanimous in favor of the Philippines,” a jubilant Cuisia told the Philippine community members. Although “China will not accept it but the tribunal still went ahead with the hearing, a clear victory for the Philippine government officials, Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del Rosario, Solicitor General (Florin T. Hillbay), team of legal experts, who did a great job, with so many comments online about that decision of the tribunal.”

Cuisia credited Philippine Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio for invoking the Washington Treaty of 1900 in his speaking engagements before the Philippine communities in Washington, D.C., New York and San Francisco early this year.

JUSTICE CARPIO CAN SPEAK IN CHICAGO, LA

“I hope we can arrange next year for Justice Carpio to speak before you here in Chicago and in Los Angeles, California,” Cuisia said as he described Carpio’s research on the matter as the “most comprehensive and best research on the issue.”

Cuisia said by reclaiming 17 reefs in the disputed waters, China inflicted environmental damages that reclaimed 103,000 acres (417 Sq./Kilometers, more than half the size of Metro Manila) conservatively damaging $280-M.

In his third visit in Chicago, Ambassador Cuisia, accompanied by his wife, Vicky, who is on her second visit to Windy City, welcomed no-holds-barred questions from the public.

He debunked the claims of China that the Philippines never settled bilaterally the Philippine Western Sea (South China Sea) issue with China, saying that at every start of the 50 meetings prior, China would claim, “We have indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea and the meeting would only last less than five minutes each time.”

Despite the aggression of China, Cuisia believes the U.S. can no longer return to the Philippines in a “basing” agreement but on a “rotating” set up under the Visiting Forces Agreement or under EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement). EDCA is being challenged before the Philippine Supreme Court.

He added the Philippines can never be beholden to China because the “Philippines has been borrowing from international markets in U.S., Europe and Asia (not from China). China buys lots of treasury notes, bills and a big creditor of U.S. treasury bills (but does not buy treasury bills from the Philippines). Our (securities) treasury bills are only offered to local market and we are not a debtor to China. We have been invited by (China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) AIIB. It is also our banks that are very helpful for financing our infrastructures. Our business is very liquid. That’s why we are leading to lot of infrastructure projects. Eventually, we still have to borrow from international capital market and we can get it from Asia, U.S., Japan, Europe. China is the largest trading partner in 2014 (of the Philippines despite the South China Sea dispute).”

He also disclosed the successful roadshow led by economic team led by Dr. Bernardo Villegas, who  travelled to Seattle, (Washington State), Dallas/Fort Worth (Texas) and Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to invite U.S. economic investors to the Philippines that continues to “have at 6.3% GDP growth rate the last five years despite the slowdown in other trading partners and under spending by the government on infrastructure programs.”

Cuisia said as the No. 1 call center in the world with 1.3 million employees and $25-B revenue, this Philippine sector might even exceed in three to five years the annual remittance of OFW’s, which was placed at $28-B this year.

He also appealed to overseas Filipino voters to go out and vote during the presidential elections in May next year in the Philippines.

If they are also voters in the November 2016 presidential elections in the U.S., Cuisia said, they should also go out and vote.

Quoting Engelbert Camasura, Partner at Ward Howell International Consulting Firm, Cuisia said the Philippines would be among the Southeast Asian countries, which will benefit with the increase of wages up to 14.9% in China that will prompt Chinese businesses to relocate to the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

When asked by this reporter how the Philippine government could protect tourists from being kidnapped in many of the Philippines tourist resorts, Cuisia suggested that “no country can guarantee that you will not be mugged, even right here in Chicago, which has the highest number of crimes. But some of them go where they are not supposed to be despite advisories not only from American embassy but also from embassies of other nationalities. Even Filipinos are also at risk. This is why the Philippines and U.S. do not want to pay ransom. If they do, they will only encourage more kidnappings.”

As to the request for Temporary Protective status for relatives of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) victims, Cuisia said, “We submitted, but we are told Philippines does not need it. And they (U.S. government) take liberal attitude, and authorities are only deporting criminals with criminal record not just foreigners. No official response yet. Informally, I was told no need for TPS for Filipinos.”

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PHOTO CAPTION

INTRODUCING AMBASSADOR: Consul General Generoso D.G. Calonge introduces Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. (seated left) on Friday (Oct. 30) at the 12th Pagkikita sa Konsulado, where Cuisia reported the good news that the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague granted the petition of the Philippine Government to hear its protest against China’s massive reclamation of Philippine Western Sea (South China Sea). Photo shows Deputy Consul General Deputy Consul General Romulo Victor M. Israel Jr. (standing) and members of the Philippine community (right). (JGL Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)

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