'Be firm' on Spratlys, bishop says

August 31, 2011

A Catholic bishop yesterday called on President Benigno Aquino to remain steadfast on the Philippines’ claim over the Spratly Islands. “[Aquino] should be firm and not give in to pressure or fear,” said Bishop Pedro Arigo of Puerto Princesa. Aquino, who arrived in China yesterday for a state visit, said he will seek to improve understanding between the two countries. “We will also discuss with [Chinese] President Hu Jintao how to resolve the controversies over the [South China Sea],” Aquino said. Bishop Arigo said he agrees with the Philippine position that the conflicting claims over the Spratlys should be brought before the United Nations’ International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. “If the demands of China are unreasonable, even if we are just a small country, we should fight for what is right and just. Let the UN body decide,” the prelate said.