Senator Wants July 12 Declared as 'West Philippine Sea Victory Day'
An ally of the late President Noynoy Aquino on Monday filed a resolution seeking to declare July 12 as "National West Philippine Sea Victory Day" in honor of his efforts to assert the country's maritime rights against China before an international arbitration court.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros filed the resolution four days after Aquino passed away at the age of 61. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in favor of Manila and invalidated Beijing's vast claims in July 2016, less than a month after he stepped down as president.
"It is essential that the spirit of the country's landmark legal victory in The Hague be kept alive in the hearts of our people through a special day of remembrance," she said.
"Ito din ay para hindi natin malimutang magbigay pugay kay PNoy, na siyang naging daan para tunay na tumindig sa Tsina," she added.
Hontiveros described Aquino as the "the father of our 2016 victory at The Hague."
"If not for his unwavering commitment to put the Philippines first, we would not have been awarded a landmark legal decision in international law, which established our credibility in the global arena," she said.
"He would often say 'the Filipino is worth fighting for,' and this particular fight is undisputed proof that he kept his word," she added.
China has refused to recognize the arbitration ruling and instead built artificial islands over the disputed reefs. Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte likened the legal victory to a "piece of paper," saying the situation in the West Philippine Sea is actually dictated by who is more powerful.
This story originally appeared on Reportr.world. Minor edits have been made by Esquiremag.ph editors.