ROCK SOLID: Unpacking the complicated territorial dispute between Philippines and China

(Welcome address of  Ateneo de Davao Law Dean Manny Quibod at the Davao City launch of multiawarded journalist Marites Vitug’s “Rock Solid: How the Philippines won its maritime case against China” held at the Media Room of the Community Center Building of the Ateneo de Davao University on 3 August 2018).

Several years ago, Ateneo de Davao University played host to the Davao book launching of the PCIJ’s research on: Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court, authored by renowned journalist Marites D. Vitug. That publication exposed critical weaknesses of the Philippine Supreme Court. And Ms Vitug had to face two libel suits and death threats from that publication.

Today, the Ateneo de Davao University is honored and privileged to co-host and co-sponsor with Konsyensya Dabaw, and MindaNews the Davao leg of the book launching of Ms. Vitug’s new book entitled: Rock Solid: How The Philippines Won Its Maritime Case Against China. Sometime July 2018 this book was launched already in Manila. Today in Davao. Hopefully this time, there will be no more libel suit and death threat.

It has been two years since the Philippines’ overwhelming victory in its maritime dispute against  China.

Dean Manny Quibod of the Ateneo de Davao University’s College of Law delivers his welcome remarks at the Davao CIty launch of “Rock Solid: How the PHilippines won its maritime case against China” written by multiawarded journaiist Marites Danguilan Vitug. MIndaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

In 2015, Ateneo de Davao played host also in bringing Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to explain and discuss the maritime claims of China and of the Philippines relative to the West Philippine Sea. We likewise brought Justice Carpio back in September 2016 to discuss the ruling of the arbitration court on the dispute and the post-arbitration challenges.

However, the Duterte administration in the past two years has downplayed the historic ruling much to the dismay of our officials and groups who lobbied for the case.

Now advocates of this ruling have put this matter up further by publishing the entirety of this dispute in a book. And no journalist who has the courage, reputation, integrity and credibility to write and publish the same other than the veteran and renowned journalist: Ms Marites D. Vitug.

Published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press, Rock Solid, among others, unpacks the complicated territorial dispute between the two countries by providing previously unreported details on the developments before and after the July 2016 arbitral decision, it also features interviews with former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, among the key actors in the case.

Rock Solidtherefore comes at a crucial time when there is a need for a renewed effort to inform people of the great value and usefulness of the ruling. The Philippines is blessed with a very long coastline and the immeasurable marine resources that extend from it. Yet we are still largely unaware of how our geography affects every aspect of our lives, even distant little rocks jutting out of the sea.

Thus, we would like to thank you for accepting this invitation to be with us for the launching of this book here in Davao City.

We welcome you to this event and we hope to have a vibrant conversation this afternoon as Ms Vitug will explain and discuss to us her new book.

Daghang salamat ug maayong hapon kaninyung tanan.