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rally

Protest ralies conducted by concerned Filipinos in Austria against China‘s interference in the West Philippine Sea.

Filipinos in Austria  hailed the ruling of a United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal that favored the Philippines in its historic case against China in the West Philippine Sea. The decision came out on Tuesday,  July 12, 2016.

The tribunal has found that there is no legal basis for China’s “nine-dash line” claiming rights to much of the South China Sea. The tribunal issued its ruling Tuesday in The Hague in response to an arbitration case brought by the Philippines against China.

“It means a lot, actually! We’ve been fighting this for a long time. It’s a big deal for a small country like the Philippines to challenge a big country like China and I’m really proud of this,”  Volet Gerstl, publisher of Philippine newspaper in Austria and  commented

Reactions of Filipinos Austria

On Facebook postings, many members of the Filipino-Austrian community  expressed pride at the Philippine government’s accomplishment.

Joy shared is joy multiplied. WE WON! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas at ang Sambayanang Pilipino! Posted Marizel Rojas, President of Bikol Association in Austria.

Rose Rodriquez Stumpe  lauded the Aquino administration for bringing the case to court.

“Wow! Whose telling the truth? China’s statement is no longer credible, even the products they currently produced are fake & hazardous. Made in China is a reflection of fake leadership whose sole intention is to subdue the working class for the benefit of ruling few, this is parallel to small nations in south china sea, because of their small in size & inferiority in External Defense, China took advantage of its might,” Ben Repol, Filipino community leader answered back China’s contention that the Philippines is the real trouble maker in region.

“The ruling is null and void for the Chinese, because the Tribunal has no power also to enforce its ruling. It is now our right to enforce but only with force. We cannot afford that. We cannot afford to engage war with a giant. We cannot jump right away into the tragic. Remember that courage is a virtue. China’s power is insurmountable for us. We have then no choice but to sit down and talk with this giant. At least we have won our case and the whole world knows it already. NO TO ARM CONFRONTATION! Say NO TO WAR!” Fr. Dong Estafia, Filipino Chaplain in Austria said.

HISTORIC WIN

Under a 1982 U.N. treaty governing the world’s oceans, the Philippines had sought arbitration in 2013 on several issues related to territorial rifts with China. In its ruling Tuesday, the tribunal found China’s far-reaching claims to the South China Sea had no legal basis and that Beijing had violated Philippine maritime rights by constructing artificial islands and disrupting Filipino fishing and oil exploration.

Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, brought the case against China and bolstered security relations with treaty ally the United States to deter assertive Chinese actions, considerably straining ties.

Duterte, however, has been more reconciliatory to Beijing and has not celebrated the huge victory. He has ordered government lawyers to study the ruling and has not disclosed his plan to secure Chinese compliance.

After being sworn in on June 30, Duterte told members of his Cabinet before the ruling was delivered that it should have a “soft landing” when it comes. “We don’t taunt or flaunt it,” he said.

– Hector Pascua