Binigyang-diin ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na walang kwestiyong pag-aari ng Pilipinas ang West Philippine Sea at kinikilala ito sa international community.

Sa kanyang State of the Nation Address (SONA), sinabi ni Pangulong Duterte na naniniwala siyang walang “kung” at “pero” sa pagmamay-ari ng Pilipinas sa nasabing karagatan at dapat pangunahin sa lahat ang pambansang dangal at territorial integrity.

“Let me assure you, that national honor and territorial integrity shall not — shall be foremost in our mind, and when we may take the next steps in this smoldering controversy over the lines of arbitral ruling, the West Philippine Sea is ours,” ani Pangulong Duterte.

Pero ayon kay Pangulong Duterte, dapat isulong ang claim na ito ng Pilipinas na may balanse sa panahon at realidad na kinakaharap sa ngayon laban sa China.

“There is no ifs and buts. It is ours. But we have been acting, along that legal truth and line. But we have to temper it with the times and the realities that we face today.”

Kasabay nito, iginiit din ni Pangulong Duterte na wala siyang nilalabag sa pagpayag na makapangisda ang mga Chinese sa loob ng exclusive economic zone (EEZ) ng Pilipinas dahil mismong ang United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at ng Arbitral Award sa kaso ng Republic of the Philippines vs. People’s Republic of China ay pinapayagan ito.

“Our ownership of the Philippine — West Philippine Sea is internationally recognized. However, both the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Arbitral Award in the case of People — “Republic of the Philippines vs. People’s Republic of China” recognize instances where another state may utilize the resources found within the coastal state’s Exclusive Economic Zone,” dagdag ni Pangulong Duterte.