BRASILIA, BRAZIL 06 SEPTEMBER 2021 – The Philippine Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil organized a Flag Raising Ceremony in Celebration of Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month (MANA Mo) 2021 for the month of September on 06 September 2021. The Flag Raising Ceremony was attended by Post’s personnel plus a handful of Filipino Community members who were there for their consular appointments that day.
In her keynote speech, Philippine Embassy in Brasilia Charge affairs, ad interim Leilani S. Feliciano delivered a keynote speech which noted the importance and timeliness of commemorating the Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month provided for in the Presidential Proclamation No. 316, signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in 2017, declaring September as the MANA Month to raise awareness on issues related to national maritime and archipelagic concerns. This year’s MANA Mo theme is "Our Seas, Our Livelihood, Our Heritage: Connecting Lives and Nations.”
For this special occasion, CDA Feliciano highlighted the commemoration of the 5th year anniversary of the Philippine’s victory at the Hague ruling on West Philippine Sea back in 2016. She remembered with great pride and honor, the Philippines’ historic, legal and moral victory and foreign policy triumph when a tribunal of five judges at Permanent Court of Arbitration or the International Court of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) decided and issued the unanimous award in favor of the Philippines against China on the 12th of July 2016.
In this landmark international case filed in 2013, the Philippine Government under the leadership of former President Benigno Simeon “NoyNoy” C. Aquino, III and former Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, with the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs and American lawyers fought legally the Chinese Government for maritime entitlements and the status of features in the South China Sea or better recognized as the West Philippine Sea and achieved victory.
CDA Feliciano highlighted that the most significant decision made by the Tribunal and enshrined in the Arbitral Award is its ruling that China’s nine-dash line and claim to historic rights in the South China Sea are both invalid under international law. In addition, ITLOS also decided that the current reclamation activities and building of illegal islands under the UNCLOS are illegal and the behavior of Chinese ships physically obstructing Philippine vessels is unlawful.
She also stressed the role of the Filipinos as ‘stewards’ of the national and maritime territory by preserving and protecting the maritime biodiversity and maritime features such as the seas and other bodies of water, coastlines, diving sites and beaches and islands including those in the West Philippine Sea, and also by maintaining the cleanliness and sustainability of our seas and islands.
CDA Feliciano concluded her speech by stating that despite the ruling of 2016 that granted the country its legal victory in international law under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the country is still engaged in such a dispute and that the Philippine Government is currently asserting its sovereignty and maritime entitlement over the West Philippine Sea against encroachment activities by the Chinese Government. Thus, these political and security developments in the West Philippine Sea makes this year’s celebration of MANA Mo even more urgent, relevant, supremely important, and timely.
The Embassy also prepared a banner for the MANA Mo commemoration which is prominently displayed at the Consular Section of the Chancery for the benefit of the Filipino nationals and visitors. END